I'm never quite ready for winter when it arrives.
Still mired in Autumn, I spend the days leading up to the first real snow convincing myself that there's plenty of time to mulch garlic or put away the bicycles or close the storm windows or turn the jack-o-lanterns out into the compost pile.
And then it snows.
Sometimes a wet, slushy, freeze the car doors shut kind of snow; sometimes a magical, fluffy, fairyland snow that paints the valley with white. When it does come we scurry around for a morning or an afternoon with cold hands, looking skyward. We mentally scan our unfinished to-do list and shake our heads, wondering when we'll find time to split the firewood now that it's snowing. We kick at a pumpkin frozen fast to the front steps.
But then we remember: cold firewood splits more easily. And frozen pumpkins are easier to move than mushy ones.
And we decide it's a metaphor. (Or at the very least nothing to fret about.)
We shrug off the list and search for mittens, snow pants, hats, and sleds. We take down some fences and climb to the top of the hayfield. Some grown-ups have a lack of steering skill on a sled (ahem) which is a source of great amusement for the others. We have a snowball fight in the darkness, and we laugh until our bellies hurt.
Because we are human we also bicker a bit and navigate normal sibling- and family-dynamics along the way. One after another the dog steals our hats and runs off into the darkness. We chase him – half scolding, half laughing. We head back to the house with red winter cheeks and big smiles. We eat popcorn and hot tea for dinner.
Because who had time to cook when fresh snow was waiting?
Yes, there are still a couple of pumpkins frozen to the porch steps. And sure, while I managed to thrift new cross country skis for the kids I didn't find any boots. But we have sleds and the hill is waiting. The first snow fort is already build, and – like every winter – the fire pit in the winter woods is waiting.
Was I ready for winter? Of course not. But I'm so grateful that it is finally here.