snowI think we can all agree we’d gotten pretty ripped off this winter. Especially compared to the glory of last year, when snow fell nearly every other day, this winter had been blaher than the blahiest of blahs.

Every day had been about the same: not that warm, not that cold, just that disturbingly bland designation of “luke.” And so, for the past several months, our views have been that of bare trees, stunted grass, deserted streets and leaves that wish they could just decompose except the wind keeps picking them up and tossing them around.

Even poor 11-year-old Gabrielle, who has the most optimistic of outlooks, had stopped wishing for snow. She knew from just a mere glance outside there wasn’t a snowball’s chance of getting any so she strapped on her backpack and trudged to school for another long, tepid day. She didn’t put ice in the toilet the night before, she didn’t do her snow dance, she just went to sleep, not cozy, not cheery, just tired.

So. When we checked the weather on Saturday, imagine my delight when I saw a “severe” warning on my phone app. We’d been away skiing for a week, and I’d convinced myself snow on the slopes was probably the only white stuff I’d see all year. But as we waited in the airport to catch the flight to Lexington, I saw a huge mess of very imposing-looking blue sitting over Kentucky on the Doppler radar. I grabbed my phone and there it was: a warning for 4 to 6 inches headed right smack in our way.

It’s amazing how your outlook immediately changes when you know a blizzard is coming. Suddenly, it’s no longer a matter of getting home, it’s a matter of getting home in time. And that home is no longer just a destination, it’s a sanctuary, one that’s going to save you from the roaring wind and icy temps and serve you hot chocolate and popcorn.

So, rather than spending the night in Lexington, we picked up sushi and Gabrielle and headed straight home to batten down the hatches before the storm, which involved no work except to look at the sky every few minutes to see if there were any flakes planning to fall. I went to bed that night feeling cozy and cheery, sure a blanket would be waiting for me outside the next morning.

But by 7 a.m., the stupid grass was still annoyingly green. By 10 a.m. it was, yes, cloudy, but not threateningly so. By 11 I was just about to give up and look at a seed catalog when rain started to fall and quickly turned to sleet. As my husband William and Gabrielle played PlayStation in the basement, I grabbed the windowsill and, pointer dog-style, watched with utter stillness, afraid any movement might somehow scare the sleet from turning into snow.

It was when the first flake fell at noon that I grabbed the keys, ran to the car and headed straight for the grocery. I rather enjoy grocery shopping anyway, but there is just nothing like going before a blizzard. All survival instincts kick in and it’s suddenly of utmost importance to stock up on random stuff like shortening and paprika. Before I knew it, my cart was nearly full and the cashier was telling me I owed her $94. No matter, I thought, it could be days, weeks before I get back to Kroger again.

I hustled home and by then the snow was falling heavily. Gabrielle had by now surfaced from the basement and was bundling up to go outside.

An hour later, Wm and I joined her and she showed us the snowman she’d made with cucumber slices for eyes. Wm gave me several face washes while I squealed like a kid. We all built a fort together, which required transporting snow from all over the yard to give it some height. Then we, albeit slowly because the snow was so sticky, went sledding on the back hill.

All the while, the snow kept falling, every view now pretty as a postage stamp, the sky a moody gray, the branches soft sculptures. After a few hours, we headed back inside and had hot chocolate and homemade pizza and watched Pirates of the Caribbean.

And winter, yes winter 2012, was saved from the doldrums.

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