It’s snowing today. My son adores the snow, as I did at his age. As an adult, I’m not such a fan of it — it’s cold and wet and manages to get through any edges of my clothes to melt and run in icy rivulets along my wrists and waist and spine.
I remember when I was a kid, we had this wooden sled with actual runners and rope pull, and when it snowed we would take the sled down to Homann Park and go down the hills. I remember how it used to actuallysnow when I was a kid; inches and even feet deep. We would go sledding and make snow angels and run shrieking from my brother and his friends as they chased us with snowballs.
As we grew older, the weather changed. Summers weren’t as idyllically long and sunny, and autumn grew wet and dreary, instead of rife with crackling bright leaves and crisp, icy air. The winters devolved into constant rain interspersed with the occasional snow-to-slush gray, always overhung with heavy, morose skies.
I’ve often wondered if I imagined those Norman Rockwell seasons of my childhood; if it was the joyous wonder of childhood itself that has tinged my memories so happily, and in actuality it was just as often miserably gray as it is now.
But I remember, too, the rain. I remember tilting my face up at it and singing, “Rain, rain go away, come again another day,” and truly honestly believing I had a special power over the rain, because it always seemed to go away for me. I remember sitting by the window on top of a heater, my face pressed against the cool glass on one side, and on the other the curtain hiding me from my family while I read a book. The rain would silver down the glass, and outside the world was washed clean while I followed Johnny Tremain through the streets of Boston or Miriam Willard along the alleys of Quebec.
I think perhaps my perspective on the snow has changed. As a child, I saw snow days and long hours with my friends and shrieking joy. As an adult, I see the slush that will inevitably follow, the bad drivers that accompany every hint of snow, and the canceled school days. I no longer revel in the fleeting freedom and beauty of Washington snows, because all I see is the inevitable frustration. Perhaps those memories of such idyllic weather are so clear because such times were so rare.
Then again, whenever I speak to other Washingtonians who experienced the 1980’s weather in this state, I hear similar memories, regardless of age: This state, apparently, has always been fairly rainy, but we’ve experienced an unprecedented level of rain in the last two decades — an unusual level of rain that has stolen numerous white winter snow days and crisp autumn afternoons and warm, balmy spring gardens and long, Indian summers from us.