We had the first solid snow of Winter hit last weekend. Snow storm Nemo came, bringing with it lots of snow along with some inspiration and motivation. I was up early on Saturday morning after the blizzard and out the front door by 7am. I love to go for a walk before the snow plows come and clear the roads and people start shoveling their walkways. I like it when the snow is untouched, clean and pristine, which is a fleeting moment in the city and suburbs. I like when I get to walk in the middle of a snowy road and the world seems still and silent.
I was not the first to walk up our street, there was a lone set of footprints up the middle of the road. It gave me a sense of camaraderie and so I followed the footprints up our street until they tapered off into a driveway near the top. I love the details snow brings, the expressive layer that accentuates movement and form.
A huge snowfall motivates me, it makes me feel alive and I just want to get out in the snow. Maybe it is because I did not grow up with snow…or maybe it is just because I am like that, I am easily moved. We have been living with seasonal snow for 5 years now, and the novelty has not worn off. I am not sure that I will get out and make snowmen with such gusto forever..for now though, I can not stop myself. I am like a child. I want to play and build and make, and snow is so wonderful for this. The snow encourages my creativity.
I started working on a snow cave on Friday afternoon with the first snow. I figured that if I made a small mound, that when the blizzard came, it would add to my snow mound. Maya was at school, and Cam and Elle were not interested in helping me as they were building a snow brick wall, so I dug at it alone.
On Saturday morning, after the blizzard my small mound of snow was twice the size. I went out and dug away a foot of snow around it, subtracting from the base and adding to the top. This was easy work and made the mound grow quickly in size. As I removed the snow from the circumference I added it to the mound and patted it all down with the snow shovel to make it feel solid – as you would a sand castle. I then started to hollow it out. This was very easy, just takes time and the desire. I had a vision of a snow cave glowing with candle lanterns in it, so I was easily spurred on. I worked on it in three sessions on Saturday, with making waffles and sledding in between.
Snow days are waffles days, something about being snowed in that lends itself to cooking yummy food. Our waffle iron is getting lots of use (thank you Grandpop and Grandma), feeling so grateful to own one! It was a very comforting feeling to come inside form the cold and smell freshly cooked waffles. We sat and ate heartily amidst strewn snow gear, drying on radiators.
Now digging a mound of snow was not particularly interesting the the girls, they preferred to play (like riding the sled down the front stairs!). I kept reminding them of the snow hut we made in 201o, when we lived at Ditmas Park, but neither of them could remember it – granted it was not that great! I was determined to make this one better! When I started hollowing the snow mound out and they could see that they could fit inside, it sparked their interest and all of a sudden I had helpers. I explained to the girls that I wanted to illuminate the snow cave with our glass jar lanterns at night….ahhhh, at last they could see my vision! Maya went right to work inside the cave making shelves to sit the lanterns on. Her idea, that she did a great job doing. I am pretty sure she will remember this one.
Maya and I did some final touches just as the sun was starting to set. There had been an icicle growing at the back door all day, and I had watched it get longer and heavier to the point I could see it was going to snap off. I went and got Maya so she could have the pleasure of holding the giant fresh icicle, which instantly she started wielding as a sword. Maya makes a fierce warrior – I was surprised…but then she is my daughter.
We took the icicle inside to show Cam, and then I thought it should be on the snow cave and so Maya had the pleasure of deciding where it should go. Which was in the middle, on the top. Our neighbours found it amusing that our snow cave had an antenna, like we were somehow tuning in to the universe. I wanted to collect a whole heap of icicle and stick them all over it…but as I said, it was getting dark and it was time to light the lanterns.
Our cave looked so pretty glowing. The girls thought it was great. Maya arranged and re-arranged the lanterns until she was happy with the set up. What they like best of all, which we did not anticipate was that the lanterns made the snow cave really warm. The heat from the candles was trapped inside, and like and igloo, it was a winter shelter. We invited our neighbours to come and see, and a few cars driving along our street stopped for a look. Eventually I insisted we go inside for the night. It had been a full day of snow play. I felt so pleased with our day in the snow. We had really made the most of natures gift.