Toasting the snow queen

She barreled in swiftly, unapologetically late to the party and still its honored guest. Crystal beads clung to her fancy pants and frosty confidence sparkled in her eyes.

She’d been invited for Christmas, but Ashley didn’t care. She trailed a white velvet stole from her diamond-heavy fingers, tossed back her salty shoulders and laughed at us all.

Here in the Midwest, where we’re unfailingly polite, we welcomed Snowstorm Ashley, even as she howled through our tidy towns.

Snow plows lined up like suitors tossing road salt roses in her path. School children set aside their disappointment at her selfish timing and feted her with sleek sleds and fleece mittens.

At our house, we watched her gusty winds bend the tall pine trees in our yard and offered typical responses.

“Too soon to jammy up?” I asked at 5 p.m., envisioning a cozy night of toddy sipping.

“I love a snowy night,” said Molly. “Let’s go for a walk.”

Charlie monitored the situation from various social media accounts. Vince headed outside to give our giant vintage snow blower a test drive.

“Anyone want to go for a walk?” Molly asked, again.



Reluctantly, I finally agreed and we tromped off, Molly chatting gaily and me aiming neutral grunts at hopefully appropriate intervals. We stopped occasionally to re-wrap our scarves and wipe sleet from our eyes.

I kept thinking about how the path we took, due south along Drew Street, had taken us to so many wonderful experiences in kinder weather — yoga in the park, the Farmer’s Market, Mile of Music.

Those activities remained a pleasant memory Monday night, as we soldiered on.

We noticed a common theme among the occasional vehicles that passed us — a fire engine or two, a police car — all emergency vehicles.

“How great is this?” Molly called out against Ashley’s gale.

“So great,” I huffed.

We’re not going to lie. Our first-blizzard-of-the-year walk was pretty miserable in spots, especially when we turned to head home and realized the wind had shifted into our faces.

But we loved the way Ashley gifted our little corner of the world with a precious evening of pristine pleasure. We enjoyed the shouts of laughter she inspired on the snow hills across from our house, and the sparkle she added to fading holiday décor.

She’s a pain, that Ashley, and we’ll be cleaning up after her for some time. But, she swept in with just the right amount of swagger and we’re glad she came to town.

Molly and the first snow
I squinted through sleet as I took this cellphone pic of Molly in City Park.
Crazy Molly and the snow
The girl does love her snow storms.
Our view as we walked home. Most of our footprints had disappeared by the time we turned around to head home. Ashley dumped more than a foot of snow on the street before she swept out of town. It was a lovely, bonding, freezing, miserable, beautiful, moment-in-time kind of walk.
Snow angel
When we finally made it back home, Molly dove in.
Snow angel
And made our first snow angel of the season.
Ashley the snowstorm 021
The view from our front door. There’s a front porch and sidewalks under that lovely blanket of snow.
Ashley the snowstorm 007
For a while, our little corner of the world was frozen in beauty.
Ashley the snowstorm 029
They waited all winter for someone like Ashley to come along. This is the snow hill across the street from our house.
Circle Street
Early the next morning, a fleet of neighbors went to work.


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