Menacingly, my grandmother would look out the window when I was growing up and utter the phrase, “It better not snow.” She would say this any time that there was a remote chance that frozen precipitation was to darken our doorstep in our little slice of heaven. In North Carolina the weather can vary so much from season to season, hence this was one of her many reasons to hate snow. I, on the other hand, have never had much of a quarrel with it. This past summer was one of the muggiest and disgusting summers I have experienced so far between the heat and the humidity. With that being said, it wasn’t a huge shock to me that this past week would prove to be beyond what our local weather forecasters could predict in terms of snowfall.
It was predicted that our area would get anywhere between two to three inches of snow and it would only fall for a few hours. It turns out that we actually got around four to five inches and it snowed most of the day yesterday and the night before that. This was probably the first time that I didn’t jump on the bandwagon leading me down a path of milk, bread, and eggs but I feel as though my family was better equipped this time without the drama. This was also the first time that I weathered a snowstorm without a desire to keep warm by a fifth of whisky. As it turns out, you really don’t need much to survive these things. All I needed this time were my two feet, my wife, and a sense of adventure.
“Let’s walk to downtown Dallas!”, my wife exclaimed as we woke up yesterday morning. Walking wasn’t exactly the first thing on my to do list with pajamas still on and no coffee in my system. Reluctantly, I agreed as we set out to make a quick breakfast. After eating we threw our coats and sweatpants on. I decided to wear my trail running shoes since the terrain was going to vary and we began our frozen expedition.
Personally, I could care less whether it snows or not when it gets predicted in our area because people have a tendency to lose their f#&$ing minds over the stuff. The hype spreads like wildfire all over social media, yet it never melts away anything but my patience. This snow was different however. Silence filled the air as the wind blew fresh precipitation in our path. Crunching footsteps and our conversations were the only things filling the void aside from the occasional car passing by. We walked from our backroad all the way into the town of Dallas, where we took shelter under a gazebo to wipe the snow from our sunglasses and faces. To take a deep breath was to take in a fresh burst of frozen air that was almost refreshing in comparison to snow in the past. Again, this snow was different.
“Well we’ve made it this far. Let’s go to the Starbucks at Ingles.”, I told my wife. With a surprised look she agreed and we walked further into town and further away from home. To see downtown covered under a white sheet like this became a great time I didn’t expect to have and we were not alone in this mindset. As we passed the local library we waved at several families walking away from Ingles with grocery bags in hand, talking with one another and having a great time. Even in retrospect, I can’t help but wonder what it was about this snow that was so different.
We made it to the store and got coffee to warm us from the inside out. Once the barista had our coffee ready, we grabbed a couple of things since we were out and made our way back outside. We walked through the neighborhoods within town to come home instead of down the main road as we did when we began our journey. There was an eerie silence amid our crunchy footsteps this time, but still enjoyable nonetheless. The neighborhoods weave between one another but they all lead home if you know where to take a left turn. We were relieved to be back on the main road and close to our apartment, as our legs were beginning to get tired.
As we made our way down into the parking lot of our apartment complex, I was amazed at how good of a time I had just walking in the snow with my wife, taking in the sights and sounds of winter and our conversations of the weather and beyond. It really kind of made me grateful for my life for once. Grateful for time with my wife. Grateful to live in a small town where we could walk to the store in five miles (roundtrip). Grateful to be alive and take in a deep breath of cold, refreshing air. I think this snow was different because I know that when it melts, part of the old me will melt with it and my life will somehow be new and clean.