On December 22, 2022

The blessings (and a few curses) that result from a dumping of new snow

By Merisa Sherman

Pulling my hood over my head, I dove off the trail and under the tree branch, heavily laden with the snow from the past few days. Usually, the branch would be bent from the weight of heavy wet snow, but today it was only from the weight of so much snow falling in just a few hours that bent the branch over the entrance to the forest of winter.

The pines, with their evergreen needles, carried the majority of the weight and acted almost like an umbrella — if an umbrella would drop an entire shovel full of snow on you at the slightest touch. Hence the hood. Because no matter how much above freezing the temperature rises, there is no fun in getting an entire wet back (or front) filled up with freezing cold snow.

The trees look almost sad in the beautiful winter state, as if they are getting ready for their long winter nap. Like they are wrapped with one of those fuzzy weighted blankets that seem so perfect on a long winter night. In fact, the one on my bed is white for just that reason. I love to feel as though I am buried in a blanket of deep snow — only a whole lot warmer.

But I certainly wasn’t cold this weekend, even with the absolutely crazy winds at elevation on Friday. Between breaking trail, cutting fresh tracks and some serious gore-tex, I think I was actually sweating more often than not. Which was absolutely amazing!

As junior ski racers, we would create dream worlds while we froze our tails off on the Snowdon Triple. Oddly enough, I don’t actually remember feeling the cold as a kid, but we must have because we adamantly refused to ride either the Snowdon or Ramshead Doubles. My favorite creation was a world in which snow would fall only when the temperature was above 2 degrees, meaning snow in the summer and skiing in bathing suits all year long!

The illogicality of our idea, the impracticality of a frozen/non-frozen world — how would farmers grow vegetables if the snow didn’t melt into the ground and water the plants? It was a dilemma that our pre-teen minds couldn’t quite come to a resolution upon. We might want to ski in the beautiful snow all year long, but as history and literature have repeatedly shown: winter is traditionally a time of suffering, of hiding and of pain.

As we continued into the woods, I am always reminded of the step that Lucy took into the wardrobe, bringing her into a stunningly gorgeous fantasy land where it was always winter. I loved that part of the story. To be living in a world where winter reigned supreme, where sound was absorbed and the world was quiet, where the beautiful Snow Queen ruled: Narnia.

By Merisa Sherman
Mira Clark leads the way through Narnia (Calvin Coolidge State Forest) in deep snow.

Imagine my horror, when as an adult I reread the beloved book series by C.S. Lewis, only to rediscover that the residents of Narnia thought of endless winter only as a punishment. When Mr. Tumnus tells Lucy that in Narnia there is only winter, but never Christmas, she is absolutely horrified. The snow, in fact, is a weapon of the Queen, used to subdue the people and erase all traces of goodness and Aslan.

But how can something be so beautiful and so horrible all at the same time?

As I sit here in my down jacket, buried under blankets in a home with no heat or electricity as a result of the storm, I find it quite ironic that I can even ask myself this question. We see it with every storm, the thousands of people without power, the slick or blocked roads, the fallen trees obstructing your driveway or the unplowed parking lots that turn into a winter obstacle course. How about the fact that you cannot leave home without a blanket, a shovel, a saw (chain or otherwise), a headlamp, good strong winter boots and gloves.

Ahh, but floating through the powder after shoveling for an hour or two is one of the sweetest feelings on earth. To sink into the snow, to ride through the sea of flakes that weren’t there before has to be one of the most ethereal experiences available on this earth.  It’s not often that us East Coasters are gifted with the perfect winter storm: big fluffy powder flakes that start off as a playground but consolidate for a perfect base. To travel through Narnia, wandering about in awe at the stillness and noiseless forest, to behold the beauty of the white blanket. These are storms that skiers and riders dream about, that change our lives forever.

Just don’t be tempted by the Turkish delight.

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

The Nicholas Green story: An American family tragedy abroad transforms seven lives  

May 29, 2024
It was a family vacation. The year was 1994 and Americans Reg and Maggie Green and their two children, Nicholas, age 7, and Eleanor, age 4, were traveling through Italy, enjoying the friendly people, the beautiful scenery and the delicious food. They were from Bodega Bay, a small, sleepy, seaside city 65 miles north of San Francisco. They were…

Remembering the Woolworth store

May 29, 2024
Rutland City back in the ‘50s had three stores that could be considered “variety stores.” They were well known “chain stores” namely F. W. Woolworth, M.H. Fishman and SS Kresge. They were located just doors away from one another on Merchants Row. Of the three variety stores F.W. Woolworth was my mother’s favorite. We often…

‘Shiffrin Gold’

May 29, 2024
The K Cloud had its way with us this Memorial Day, with a fog so thick that you didn’t realize you had gotten to the bottom of Superstar until you saw the two bright orange slow signs ahead in the mist. It was like being in a whole other world, our world, where only the craziest…

A rock in a hard place

May 29, 2024
My wife and were out shopping recently when we stumbled upon a small concert taking place in a nearby park. It was one of those early evening performances that most cities sponsor throughout the summer months. There were people sitting on blankets in the grass while others had brought beach chairs. A few daring folks…