It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood,
a beautiful day in the neighborhood
won't you be my,
won't you be my,
won't you be my neighbor?
The eastern seaboard of the United States is having a blizzard. A grand, glorious, wonderful, spectacular blizzard! In addition, the northeast is having a nor'easter. I'm in snow heaven, making snow angels and generally enjoying this President's Day to the fullest.
I went out at 5:30 am for a drive around my local area. Crazy as a loon, right? You betcha! Roads were hard-packed with snow and mostly unplowed. I only got stuck once, though, driving up a hill to a stop light. After sliding backwards, and snaking my way back up the hill with tires spinning, I finally made it to the intersection and whooped with glee. When the roads are empty, and there's no possibility of me hitting anyone else, I don't mind skidding and sliding around.
Ok, truth is, I love that!
Newer friends are amazed to find out that I don't like skiing. It's not as much fun for me. But driving alone in a raging snowstorm, struggling to make up a hill without hurting anyone or anything is just the best fun you can have in a car. Well, for me anyway.
After clearing the intersection, I continued driving aimlessly around. All the stores were closed, except for Dunkin' Donuts. I pulled in and got a cup of coffee. The lady behind the counter asked me if I was on my way to work or home. I said I was out for a joy ride. She looked at me, and then burst out laughing and said "You're crazy!". I laughed as I gave her the money for my coffee and said "Yup". As I turned to leave I said "Enjoy this beautiful day." She laughed and said "You too!"
Not to worry nice Dunkin' Donuts lady, I will.
When I got back in the car, I decided to head for home. The long way. It was a lovely ride, in silence. Just me, alone on the road, sipping my coffee and enjoying the beauty of the snow falling in the dark.
After two attempts, I finally made it up my driveway and pulled into my parking spot. I sat in the car, sipping my coffee and watched as a few neighbors started come out of their homes to clean off their cars.
No joy in those faces. How sad, I thought. Of course, unlike me, they had to get to work this morning. Being a grown-up stinks most of the time, but especially on days like this.
I'm not much for social interaction with my neighbors, beyond saying hello. But this morning, being snow-giddy, I decided to invite these few sad souls into paradise. What's the point of being in a magical winter-wonderland and not sharing it with everyone? I got out of the car and walked over to where they were standing, six inches, or more, deep in the snow, whisking away all that white powder magic. I boomed out, in my loudest voice, "Good Morning!" One of the men actually jumped, but another laughed and said "Good Morning!" right back. Not nearly as loud, but it was good effort.
"Anyone want to play with me this morning?" I asked.
No response. Poor grown-ups. I felt so sorry for them.
"Seriously. Anyone want to play with me this morning?" I asked. Then I spun around in a circle a few times and landed on my back in the snow.
Shouting to the heavens, I said, "When was the last time any of you made a snow angel?"
No response. I didn't say anything else as I waved my arms and legs in the snow, making my angel.
I was about to stand up when I heard some crunching off to my left. I lifted my head and there was that nice man, who said good morning to me, gingerly trying to lie down in the snow. One really must throw oneself into a good snow angel, but I figured it's been a long, long time since he last made one and he's forgotten how to do it right.
"Good for you!" I shouted. I was rewarded with a belly-laugh.
"I haven't done this in years." he said.
The other two men came over and watched as we swished our way through the snow, making angels.
I heard the men laugh, nervously, and then one said:
"You're nuts Jack." Followed by more laughter.
"Come'on man, try it! This is great!" Jack said.
More laughter and a "what the hell" and then both men found a place in the snow field, carefully lay down on the snow and started their angels.
One of the men said "I feel stupid" as he laughed.
"Don't," I said, "This is what snow is for. Making snow angels and snow forts and snowball fights."
I very carefully got up and looked at my angel. She was perfect.
Yes, snow angels are "she's". Always. No exceptions. It's a law.
I walked over to Jack and held out my hand to help him up. Getting up from a snow angel without destroying her is an art. If you don't angels frequently, you run the risk of ruining your creation when you stand up. You lose the knack for it. Getting out of your angel is not like riding a bicycle. You do forget how to do it properly and then your beautiful angel is ruined.
After a couple of tugs, Jack came free of his angel without destroying her.
"That was fun," he said, "let's make another one."
I got a good look at his beaming face. A man, maybe in his mid-fourties, greying at the temples, the first deep wrinkles starting to set. Obviously not a man who made silliness a hobby. But he was beaming like a young boy, set free by the snow, into a world of magic. I was happy for him and our new-found friends.
"Sure," I said, "let's help the others up and we'll make more."
"Let me help you up so you don't ruin your angel," I said to the man who had been next to me. He smiled and held up his hand and I helped him to stand up.
"Thanks," he said, "I'm Joe."
"You're welcome. My name is Laura. What do you think of your angel?"
Laughing he said "It's fantastic!"
"She," I corrected, "Snow angels are always female." I was trying to be serious, but I was giggling.
"She is fantastic!" Joe said, laughing, "And so are you!"
I smiled as I watched Jack help the other man up. I heard him say his name was Tony.
"We're gonna make another angel," Jack told Tony, laughing.
"Cool" Tony said.
We walked over to another broad patch of untouched, pristine, perfect-for-angels, snow and I threw myself into it.
"You can break your back doing that." said Jack.
"No way!" I shouted, "Snow is magic! You can't get hurt throwing yourself into a snow angel."
Well, they didn't believe me, so they crept into theirs. They had just as much fun making their angels as I did though.
Being an angel expert, I got up first and helped the others out of their angels. Tony fell and stepped in his. Without out being prompted he went right back in and worked on his angel some more until she was perfect. Jack and I helped him out and she didn't get damaged this time. We stood for a moment, in perfect silence, admiring our handiwork.
All too soon, though, the real world rushed in for these men and Joe said "I better finish cleaning the car off." Oh, he sounded so sad. But he turned to me and enveloped me in a massive, rocking bearhug and said "Thank you! That's the best fun I've had in ages!" The other two men took their turns giving me a bearhug and thanked me for inviting them to play.
I pointed across the way and said "I live over there. If you want to play in the snow after work, just knock on the door." I said goodbye and told them all to becareful driving and headed for my home.
After peeling out of wet clothes and putting on warm dry clothes, I went downstairs and made some coffee. While waiting for the coffee to finish perking, I went to the living room window. Their cars were gone and they were off into the real world. I couldn't see our snow angels from where I stood. I know, in this driving snow, they won't last long. But that's ok. We can always make more.
I hope the angels will keep the smiles on their faces and the laughter in their souls throughout the day.
That's what making snow angels does for you.
Go outside and make one. Right now.
Come knock on my door. I'll come play with you.