Encore: If Everyone Owned a Toboggan…

The snow is here.   A blanket of whiteness usually lies upon this neck of the woods mid November and this year it has arrived with all the grace of a hippo in a tutu.

I liked snow well enough when I was young. At six a toboggan and a huge pile of snow, complimentary of Dad and his John Deer tractor clearing the driveway, provided hours of fresh air fun. Sometimes Dad would make a “mini-hill” and hollow out the inside for the best of snow forts in the neighborhood.

Or, Dad, his shovel in hand, would clear a portion of the dugout in the bush for us to skate. There, we would be visited by white weasels curious enough to poke their noses out of a snow bank to see who had infringed upon their territory.

And, of course, the quintessential outdoor activity: the making of the snowman. The sisters and I took the traditional approach in the making of our snowmen. The standard three icy boulders were rolled and placed carefully one on top of the other. Then off to the coal shed for coal (yes, there were remnants of coal left behind from a bygone age, acquired a generation ago…enough to create many a visage for many a meltable mannequin for the entirety of my childhood). A carrot for a nose, twigs for arms, and my rainbow coloured scarf completed our masterpiece. Occasionally the dogs would make off with the carrot, and crows would pluck away at the scarf, but for the most part our snowman would stand guard in our front yard for weeks.

I wonder where my wonderment for winter went. How magnificent it was to muck about for hours in the snow, never allowing the cumbersome layers of leotards or long johns, snow pants and socks and mittens and scarves and toques impede our play. How glorious the feeling to return to a warm house, all sweaty and rosy-cheeked. The best night sleep was spent after a day in the snow.

Now, I see the snow fall outside my window and I have to muster the strength not to wear flannel day after day after day after day after day. Go out and play in all this whiteness? My body aches with the thought. I try to convince myself that it would be an exhilarating exercise in reliving my childhood. But I use the excuse that coal is impossible to come by in this day and age and therefore such a thing as the making of a snowman would not be worth my while.

And besides, I have no toboggan … and this fact is indeed a sad reality.

It seems as though if everyone owned a toboggan, the world would be a happier place.


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