Snow Scenes – Real and Imagined

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

A snow day literally and figuratively falls from the sky, unbidden, and seems like a thing of wonder. ~Susan Orlean

Kentucky winters are unpredictable. We might have snow. We might not. When my oldest son was six, he got a sled for Christmas. We did not have sledding snow for years. Then the year he was eleven the heavens opened and we had piles and piles of snow. And some ice. He stayed out sledding for hours. It’s a wonder he didn’t have frostbite. Three winters in a row we had major snow and cold. 

At that time we were the only people who lived back our little lane that had high banks on both sides of it. The snow drifted solid as high as those banks and there was no way we were going to get out that road. My husband pulled the car out through the pasture field with his tractor. Then every morning he’d ride the tractor out to the main road, get the car and go to work. He brought in the groceries too. That year nobody actually drove up our lane until the middle of March when I had a family birthday party for my daughter. My brother-in-law had a big four-wheel drive truck and he “broke” the road. The kids and I stayed home except when we walked to my parents’ house down the road. And of course, the kids played in the snow. They would take their little brother out and then he’d get stuck in the snow drifts and they’d have to lift him out. But he loved it too.

I remember three and four-week long snow days, and drifts so deep a small child, namely me, could get lost in them. No such winter exists in the record, but that’s how Ohio winters seemed to me when I was little – silent, silver, endless, and dreamy. ~Susan Orlean

I don’t know how long the kids were out of school, but it seemed like three and four week snow days. We could have had cabin fever. I’m sure we did have cabin fever. But now, I don’t remember that. I remember eating a lot of popcorn and hot chocolate. I remember reading the Lord of the Ring books. The two older kids read them too. I remember card games and fires in the wood stove. And I do have to admit I remember being glad when the kids went back to school so I’d have more writing time again. 

The snow this winter isn’t nearly that deep. No drifts over the fence posts. But it has been very cold so the snow we did get is staying around. I like walking in the snow and I like taking snow pictures. And sometimes I write snow scenes in my stories. 

“I’m working on a snow scene right now, and it’s summer. It’s hot, and I will get chilly. I’ll have to turn on the heat. My wife walks in, and it’s 95 degrees in the studio. I know it’s nutty, but it’s a projection you have where you step into the painting.” ~Thomas Kinkade

I understand that. The same as he is with the painting, sometimes I get so deep in my story that I can almost feel the snow and ice in my face as I write. I heard the ice hitting the cabin windows and breaking down the army tents in Christmas at Harmony Hill. I was with Hannah in The Believer as she defiantly made snow angels at the Shaker village. I was driving through the snow with David and Leigh as they stepped closer to love in Summer of Joy. The same can be true with hot weather scenes, so I guess right now I need to be writing about summertime to keep me warm. 

Hope you stay warm and enjoy the snow if you have it in your world. I always think about leaving a lot of happy tracks when I walk in the snow. That’s what the dogs and I did today because snow can be fun. Just ask a boy with a sled. 

What do you like about snow days? Or do you get cabin fever?