I think of my Father every time it snows. He usually calls me, Boston to New York.
“How is it?”
“Good. I got a snow day!”
“Nice. You go for a walk?”
At some point during the day I bundle up and hold the door for my superintendent who shovels on and off throughout the day. In and out, in and out.
He says, “Thank you.” I reply, “No, thank YOU,” with a gesture toward his shovel as we exchange a smile.
I never found the words to describe the feeling I experience when first starting out into a snow filled world. I find I’m still just like a child experiencing it for the first time. That pure joy, unlike any other, has never left me.
I plow through the many sections of yet to be shoveled sidewalks, with just a few solitary individuals and service vehicles braving the white sprinkled evening. I’ve never heard 145th so quiet. This version. A different side to the neighborhood and city.
And I think, in this place with so many different experiences that this weather so special to me, is a terrifying inconvenience to others without home, heat, and/or assistance.
Looking down at my mens’ work boots that are a size too big, I am brought back again to thoughts of my Dad. I got this pair of boots back in the 8th grade to emulate the man who owned what was probably 10 pairs of construction boots, but feels like 30 in my memory.
Working “with the tools,” he always claimed to need a variety: some broken in, and some new, others light, or warm for cold weather, and breathable for the summer months, some for the job and still more for work around both homes he built for us.
What I come from and where I walk now, is somehow wrapped intimately in the memory of those boots.
A young woman calls out, “It’s easier to walk in the street!”
“Thanks, I bet,” but I know I won’t move over. I relish the opportune challenge of the sidewalk piled high, and the footprints of neighbors that came before. People come and go to the faithful bodega, always open no matter the weather. I see the plows cruising by, imagining the frustration in one pass, but no matter how many times it takes the roads will be cleared by morning, ready for our busy commutes.
“Can I eat New York snow?” I think.
I was the child constantly eating the snow, obsessed with the sensation. The debate inside is loud: heart yes, head no. Dad's tip? "Don't eat yellow snow," not so helpful in the current situation.
A particularly high drift reminds me of a storm on Gordon Road, where our first house was.
On a curving back street through small suburban houses loaded with white fluff, little me must walk in the street to keep up with my Father’s long strides. It is still snowing on this dark night, when the sky flashes a muted green. My Dad, ever the one explaining my surroundings, tells me it is lighting. I accept the knowledge openly, even without hearing a thunder clap. If there is a weather love stronger than snow within me, it is of windy thunder storms (but that’s a story dedicated to my Mother). This childhood evening has become the perfect combination of magic forecast.
My Dad and I approach an electrical truck getting ready to raise its bucket and of course we stop to check it out. He likes to be always in the know, best informed.
He stops sharp and throws out his arm in front of me,
With a point down he exclaims, “See the wire?”
There are thick black electrical snakes curling into the soft snow, fallen from their posts above.
“Well that’s live electricity…”
There is a ring of light around the spot where each wire disappears, the color of yellow-green glow stick, it compliments the lightning still flashing above.
He sums it up for me, “Pretty cool, huh?”
Back in my own apartment, I spread my clothes and boots along the heater, just as I once did on the boiler in the basement of our family home. Drying out for another adventure maybe tomorrow.
"There is not one pink flower, or even fifty pink flowers, but hundreds. Snowflakes, of course, are the ultimate exercise in sheer creative glee. No two alike. This creator looks suspiciously like someone who just might send us support for our creative ventures." -Julia Cameron