All day gray skies have been heavy with the promise of snow. Now I look out the window and see a breeze blowing flakes horizontally across my little landscape. It’s six days ’til Christmas, and the world is curling round and round before settling upon its cushion for a nap.
I intend to bake fruitcake, since I love it, unlike most of earth’s inhabitants. Once upon a time my children’s godmother, Arie Taylor, made the most wonderful fruitcakes and would give us (me!) one every year, but since she died I’ve bought little ones to see me through the holidays. Now I must bake my own gluten-free fruitcake. I have what I need, but I’m watching the falling snow, and remembering other winters.
I think of snow in Boulder, one year so high and clumpy that my brother Mike and I built first a fort, finally adding a roof to make it an igloo. My fingers tingle with remembered cold, and I can recall the cramped quarters of that tiny structure. His cheeks were bright red, as I’m sure my own were, and we took turns peeking out the door at phantom attackers. No snowballs were ever rounder or had better heft. We fought glorious battles until our ears were numb and our fingers and toes ached. Finally going in the house felt like a defeat, but Mom made us cocoa and we changed into dry clothes and huddled beside the furnace vents until we were warm again.
One Christmas Eve years later my husband and I planned to take the kids up to Boulder to see the family, but by the time we were to set out, two feet of snow had fallen in Denver. We weren’t going anywhere, except by foot. A trip the the grocery store two blocks away allowed us to get a certain amount of festival food, and we all settled into the house to watch the white stuff continuing to fall. By the time the storm was over, we had over three feet, and my children were out the next day, building a fort that later became an igloo. I watched them jump and throw snowballs, their cheeks bright red, and then went to the kitchen to make cocoa for them.
The snow is coming down harder and the grandchildren are at Yellowstone Park looking at snow near Old Faithful. It’s time for me to get serious about baking fruitcake or writing a few cards–something. I’m grateful for the warmth coming from the furnace vents. Maybe I’ll go make some cocoa for myself and lift a cup to memories of other snowstorms, other times.