Kristan Hoffman - Writing Dreams Into Reality
Wed Feb 5 2014

The cold never bothered me anyway

1.

My first memory of snow is fleeting. I was just four years old when my parents bundled me up and hurried me out the front door of our townhouse. The three of us stood in the courtyard under a gray-blue sky, marveling at the soft white magic falling all around. My mom had on her fur coat. I’m not sure I even owned gloves. For a little kid growing up in Houston, snow was as mythical as unicorns, and that day the flurries only lasted for a few minutes. But it was enough for my dad to help me make a tiny snowman, four inches tall.

When we went back inside, I sat by the window and watched the snowman melt. Though I was sorry to see him go, I was too amazed by the whole experience to truly feel sad. Snow was real and I had seen it. Anything was possible now.

2.

Thirteen years later, I was a freshman in college, feeling happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time. (Thank you for the great lyric, Taylor Swift.) Those first few months, I spent a lot of time in my room, chatting online with friends who were hundreds of miles away, and struggling with school work for the first time in my life.

One night, early in December, I was looking out my window when snow began to fall. And I wasn’t the only one who noticed. Voices sounded down the hallways, growing louder with excitement. One of the boys peered into my room and invited me to join a small group going outside. Together we ran down five flights of stairs, too excited to wait for the elevator, and burst out of the dorm into the frigid air.

We built a snowman, four feet tall instead of four inches. We had a snowball fight. We made snow angels, which I had never done before. We even tried sledding down a small hill, sitting atop flattened cardboard boxes from the recycling bin. And when we were done acting like kids, we trudged back upstairs, dripping and exhausted, and we microwaved water for ramen and hot chocolate, and we opened our textbooks with a renewed sense of purpose.

3.

For a few weeks now, the Midwest has been besieged by extremely cold temperatures, thick snowfall, and treacherous road conditions. Schools have been delayed and canceled so often that the kids are probably going to have to make up an entire week. My neighbors groggily dig their cars out every morning, sometimes taking ten minutes or more.

But the truth is, as long as people stay safe, I don’t mind this weather. I love the way the world looks blanketed in white.  I love curling up on the couch to work, and Riley pressing his soft warm body against mine. I love the hush, the smell, the glow.

Today, Riley and I walked across a field that had been completely covered by a thick layer of snow, with a thin layer of ice on top. My boots crunched through, making a faint trail along the edge of the woods. But Riley was apparently light enough that he didn’t break the ice. Instead, his paws scurried across the surface as he ran ahead and turned back, ran ahead and turned back. I smiled at the swirls of snow dancing in his wake.

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13 Comments
  1. Mary says:
    Thu Feb 6 2014 at 12:38 AM

    I slipped and slid over our driveway in the white hand-me-down cowboy boots I got from a neighbor when I was four. You could still see the grass on our lawn through the snow, but it was snow. On the ground.

    I was late for my first day of work at my first long-term temp job after college because of snow. The whole city shut down, and the buses were running late. Fortunately, everyone here is used to that, since it happens at least once most years.

    I’m with you, about not minding the snow. Which is lucky for me, as we’re supposed to get some tomorrow. It’s a bit of a pain to work around (especially living in a city that doesn’t have the tools to respond to it effectively), but it sure is pretty.

  2. Shari says:
    Thu Feb 6 2014 at 10:00 AM

    Aww, the image of Riley skittering across the ice makes me smile. Too cute. Also: you make the snow seem magical again … thank you for that! :)

  3. T. S. Bazelli says:
    Thu Feb 6 2014 at 11:54 AM

    I love the snow too, but I think that if I lived somewhere it snowed a lot regularly I might not hehe.

    Thank you for sharing more memories with us. You know, next time you need to make a snowman 4 meters tall… just saying. *giggles*

  4. Anthony Lee Collins says:
    Thu Feb 6 2014 at 12:20 PM

    A co-worker and I were in full Boring Old Fart mode yesterday, reminiscing about Blizzards We Have Known (all much more impressive than the paltry storms of today, of course). All I had to do was say, “Well, back in the seventies,” and we were happily remembering all sorts of difficulties we had overcome, back when storms were really storms.

    The younger staff members were all clustered around, of course, listening in silent wonder.

    Not. :-)

  5. tria says:
    Thu Feb 6 2014 at 12:53 PM

    This makes me miss snow Kristan! And college, a tiny bit :)

  6. Juliann says:
    Thu Feb 6 2014 at 2:13 PM

    I’m with Anthony. I keep reminiscing about the 70’s when we had the blizzard and what seemed like weeks and months off of school. Back when snow was something to play in, bit to contend with.

    I don’t mind the snow or cold weather — for 3 months. Which is why I love living in Cincinnati. We usually have all four seasons and just when I’m sick of one, the next season begins.

  7. Kristan says:
    Thu Feb 6 2014 at 2:50 PM

    Mary-
    Aww, I love reading your companion memories. So funny to think we were sharing experiences long before we met.

    Shari-
    You’re welcome! I know you’re itching for spring. :)

    T.S.-
    Yeah, I wouldn’t want snow ALL the time. I quite enjoy having all 4 seasons. Makes me appreciate each one. :)

    Anthony and Juliann-
    Uphill both ways? ;P

    Tria-
    I’m quite happy with my life, but I still miss CMU all the time, hahaha.

  8. Anthony Lee Collins says:
    Thu Feb 6 2014 at 9:53 PM

    Of course! :-)

  9. Jonathan says:
    Wed Feb 12 2014 at 11:13 PM

    Ah, yes, the snow! I remember that. It snows here in Manhattan all the time, except it turns into brown mush before I can enjoy it.

  10. Kristan says:
    Thu Feb 13 2014 at 11:04 AM

    Jonathan-
    Haha, my NYC friend says the same thing. Stinks for you guys.

  11. jkftravel says:
    Mon Feb 17 2014 at 5:19 PM

    Shelly Winters (old actress – you kids can google her) once said in an interview, “It was so cold, I almost got married.” I think that about sums up cold weather for me.

  12. Kristan says:
    Mon Feb 17 2014 at 9:46 PM

    Julia-
    Haha, and that’s why you live on the West Coast. ;)

  13. Anthony Lee Collins says:
    Tue Feb 18 2014 at 2:06 AM

    jkftravel: Your comment started by making me feel old, but the line itself made me laugh out loud. Which is worth a lot more than feeling old for a minute because I know darn well who Shelly Winters was. :-)

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