Thursday, December 13, 2012

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

(c) Finntann

I've been in a foul mood lately

Well, not really, but I am kind of annoyed.  It has been warm, bright and sunny, with blue skies and fleecy white clouds, and I hate it.  Normally at this time of year my driveway is buried under snowpack, not to be seen again until sometime around Memorial Day.  I'm a four seasons kind of guy, which might explain why I live 9000 feet up in the Rocky Mountains. Okay, maybe I'm a three seasons kind of guy, Spring, Fall, and Winter, we don't get much of a summer at this altitude.  The temperature seldom rises out of the seventies, which is just fine by me.  I love the snow, gray skies and biting wind, especially at this time of year.  What have we got so far? Sun! The picture above, taken several Christmases ago from my deck is what it should look like.  Worst part of it is the roads, they are dry, dusty, and severly washboarded.

Why Do We Dream of a White Christmas?

Somehow, snow at Christmas seems proper to me.  I like snow, but don't really start wishing for it until Thanksgiving rolls around... and generally come March I've had my fill.  As a child I can remember any gray December day being an occasion to fervently hope and pray for snow, and perhaps a day liberated from the public school system.  When I lived in southern New Mexico, we would always head up into the mountains at Christmas looking for snow. Although one year it snowed all day on Christmas... didn't stick, but at least it snowed.  So, why do we dream of a white Christmas?  Have we been indoctrinated by years of reruns of Frosty the Snowman?  Does the recitation of poems make us long for "the moon on the breast of new fallen snow"?  I don't know, maybe it's me... do you dream of a white Christmas?

I'm dreaming of a white christmas,
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow

I'm dreaming of a white christmas,
With every christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright,
And may all your christmases be white


In the time between penning and posting this article, we have had, last weekend, four inches of snow.  Not much, but at least it's a start.  We also have a 60% chance of snow this Friday, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.



FreeThinke said...

Why do we dream of white Christmases?

Images stay in my memory from tales my father read to me when I was a little boy:

"People passing by outside the windows as quietly as though they were shod in white velvet ..."

"He felt in his heart the peace that comes from the still, white light of snow."

"The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow gave the luster of midday to objects below ..."

The story of Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates, given and read to me one Christmas before I reached school age, has left lasting favorable images of winter.

Snow transforms everything overnight. There's a magical quality to the atmosphere it produces.

There's never been anything cozier or more reassuring than being "snowed in" for a day or two. The house takes on a special charm. Looking out the windows watching the snow pile up is always exciting. Getting out in it the next day, and making snowmen or coasting down the local hillsides after the plows have packed it down to a hard surface is some of the best fun I've ever had.

Shovelling the walks and driveway on the other hand was never much fun at all -- unless you got paid 50¢ to do it by a grateful neighbor -- a tidy sum when I was a kid. ;-)

I went to college in upper New York State, and we'd go tobogganing at some of the local parks on weekends. It was exhilarating to say the least.

It's been much too long since I've experienced that kind of excitement.

And then white is still regarded as a symbol of purity, serenity, cleanliness, enlightenment -- all that good stuff -- so maybe that too adds to the appeal of snow?

Funny! I doubt if it has ever snowed in Bethlehem!

Merry Christmas!

~ FreeThinke

Silverfiddle said...

Brace yourself for the inevitable and trite global warming comments from the leftists who visit here.

jez said...

No, brace *yourself* for climate change. :)

Thersites said...

Symbolically, when the snow falls and cuts you off from the rest of civilization, you are removed from the demands of utility and are consequently a sovereign subject. Those who are not completely dominated by the needs of the system or the process, but, rather, can exist free of their external constraints and in the moment.

Hence you snow-bound isolation represents an "acquiring of power." A "herm" has been placed upon the gates of your dominion, making it safe for you and yours to celebrate the priapeia. ;0

Silverfiddle said...

Jez: "No, brace *yourself* for climate change."

I get the smiley, but historical data shows "climate change" is as old as mankind.

I remember the winters of 82, 83, 84 and 85 in Denver. Record cold and snow.

jez said...

In fact much older. But I think you realise that not even Al Gore posits that the climate was static prior to the 20th century.

Ducky's here said...

I hate snow. I don't mind cold weather but forget the snow.

Last winter was absolutely superb with only about 6 inches total.

skudrunner said...

I have seen the temp below freezing and now am ready to return to acceptable temps around the century mark.

I didn't like cold when I was young and like it less now that I am seasoned.

Always On Watch said...

I like snow only if I don't have to drive in it.

And the shoveling! The older I get, the harder it is for me to wield that shovel. Where are the kids that used to show up to shovel?

Some people simply cannot get out and about if it snows or if snow covers the roads and the sidewalks. Mr. AOW is one of those people.

Always On Watch said...

Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates

I love that book!

I wish that more of my students loved it too. **sigh**

Bunkerville said...

Thanks for the memories folks.

Craig said...

!0" to 12" last weekend in Minneapolis. The light but wet variety that clung to everything, much like your photo. Gorgeous but driving the next few days is a pain in the arse.

Fredd said...

I never really cared much for white Christmasses, since I had almost none of them growing up in Oregon.

At Christmas, the rain was just a little colder than normal. We knew when spring was coming when the rain got warmer.

Then summer broke through, and the rain was a pleasant temperature.

KP said...

In SoCal we can almost always count on beautiful weather for Christmas. Even more predictable is blue sky and 70 degree sunshine that makes a Chamber of Commerce type post card day on January 1st for the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl.

Each year the two events get people California Dreaming when it comes to the weather. I am content to sing about a White Christmas while I crest Palomar Mountain at 6000 feet on my bike in 68 degree weather :)

Ducky's here said...

Winter Happiness

by Jack Gilbert

Pride, pride, pride, pride, pride,
pride and happiness. Winter
and empty fields and beyond the trees
the Aegean. The night sky
bright in the puddles of this lane.
Such dear loneliness. Going along
to no man's clock. No one who knows
my middle name for a thousand miles.
My youth gone and death unable to find me.
Thinking back to childhood. Astonished
that I could find the way here.

FreeThinke said...

If that is your home in the picture, Finntann, I am very favorably impressed. Surrounded by snow-capped pines and seen in the distance through the mist of a snowfall it looks like a baronial estate.

Merry Christmas to you ad yours!

~ FreeThinke

FreeThinke said...

Thank you, Thersites, for adding yet another word to a vocabulary already swollen and overflowing.

Following your links almost invariably works to increase one's store of erudition.

A herm is a great thing in that it manages to preserve and exhibit the two most essential elements a man possesses while completely avoiding any show of his inessential components.

And yes, I suppose being [comfortably] cut off from the constraints and demands of Civilization could greatly increase one's sense of personal power, although for me it was probably more the exhilarating sensation of being suddenly free from the burden of having to follow normal routines that energized me -- as a child.

In the workaday environment of an urban-suburban context the spell cast by new fallen snow breaks rapidly once you must face the onerous tasks of digging out and attempting to drive with much impedance among impatient, sometimes irrational drivers with frayed nerves under perilous conditions.

In the mountains accompanied by family and friends, sheltered in a stoutly-built alpine lodge stocked well with provisions and a roaring fire in the big stone fireplace --- well, that's an entirely different proposition.

~ FT

viburnum said...

I'm not a big fan of having a White Christmas either. The last real one we had ( snow falling on Christmas Eve ) got me thrown out of the choir since my mother wouldn't let me out in a blizzard to go sing at midnight Mass.

KP: "I am content to sing about a White Christmas while I crest Palomar Mountain at 6000 feet on my bike in 68 degree weather."

Lucky you! You've been spared the discovery that the designer of UnderArmour Cold Gear has either never rode a bike, or has definite sadistic tendencies. That raised seam down the middle is quite annoying after 15 or 20 miles.

Finntann said...

@ Funny! I doubt if it has ever snowed in Bethlehem!

I believe it has, I recall seeing something on the news about it, might have been back in 2010.

@I don't mind cold weather but forget the snow.

I'm of the mind that if it is cold it may as well be snowing. What I hate is cold and rain.

@Where are the kids that used to show up to shovel?

I don't know, but then, I don't expect them at my house, we don't even get trick-or-treaters. The Houses are far apart and terrain too hilly, I suppose.

But that brings back memories. We used to go around shovelling sidewalks when I was a kid for a buck (Inflation I suppose, FT). There was a steep valley in our commercial district that cars used to get stuck at the bottom of, whole gangs of us would help push them out, and more often than not got tips too. Used to bumper ski on cars too!

@If that is your home in the picture, Finntann

That home is across the valley from me. I took a tour last time it was on the market, veritable log palace... three stories with loft, custom wrought iron railings with wildlife scenes. Gorgeous views of Pikes Peak.

My home is, shall we say, a tad more humble ;)


Finntann said...

Oh, and sunny 70 degree Christmases annoy me :)

The first one I experienced in New Mexico was pretty good, but then the novelty wore off pretty darn quick.

Les Carpenter said...

Growing up in Washington State, moving later to Ill. and then on to MA. and later NY I have had plenty of White and non White Christmas days.

Non White has it all over White Chrismas days. IMNHO.

J.O.B. said...

I am with you Finn. Growing up in Chicago, I got use to a White Christmas. In fact, some of my favorite childhood memories are of me playing with my friends, and Mom. In the snow. Making Snow Forts, snowball fights, snow angels, and anything else you can imagine. I even remember snow drifts so high that my friends and I were able to climb up a latter onto our roof and do cannonballs. In December! Can you imagine?
The snow to me is more than just weather, or moisture. It is memories. It is my past life. I loved it. Thank you for leading down memory lane.......

Z said...

I'm a California girl from the start and I think Christmases should be white, too! Go figure. I HATE when it's Christmas day and 80 degrees outside...just HATE it.
Loved your post, hoping for snow for you.
the best we can do here is RAIN, which we've been getting a little more than normal...HURRAH!

KP said...

@viburnum "That raised seam down the middle is quite annoying after 15 or 20 miles."

Ha! The worst. No matter how much Assos chamois creme you apply!

KP said...

@Finntann "Oh, and sunny 70 degree Christmases annoy me :)

It looks like we human are able to adapt to our environs and regularly see the best of what this great planet has to offer; remember past happy experiences as "the best"; OR, we are mobile enough that we end up where we want to be.

Either way, it is a success story!