“The richness of life lies in memories we have forgotten.” – Casare Pavese
As a child, I spent my elementary school years growing up in a small town in northeast Tennessee: thick accents, southern food, country music, and the color orange. But along with all the southern charm came some pretty chilly winters. Now, when I tell people that Tennessee was cold, they often laugh and dismiss my words, since “it’s not nearly as cold as New England.” Alright, so I didn’t grow up walking to school in knee-high snow or negative degree mornings, but we still had our fair share of chilly temps and snow days.
I remember we used to wait up until all hours of the evening, praying for a snow day off from school and on those few days a year when we got one, what a celebration it was. Layering on jackets, scarves, waterproof gloves, and boots. Digging out the sleds and hot hands from last year and running outside to play in the snow. We made snowmen (granted they usually melted within a day or two), threw snowballs, and found the biggest hills to sled down for a couple of hours before collapsing inside by the heater with some hot chocolate: the tingling feeling running through our hands and feet as we nearly burned our skin on the heater. We treasured these snow days like double rainbows, never knowing how long it would be until we would see one again.
As I remember the thrilling snow days, I can’t help but think of the dreadfully cold ones without snow as well. Wrapping myself in a blanket inside my mother’s van on the way to school, pulling my layers of long sleeves down being held by my fingers as I drew my arm through another layer (mom’s “trick”) and shivering all over to warm my body to a normal temperature. My family always said I was a warm-blooded child. I truly hated those cold winters and longed for the sweat-dripping humidity of summer to come again.
Fast forward to January 2014. I now live in sunshiny Tucson, AZ, and have for the last 10 years; It is paradise. Today I took a walk with my mom and my dog wearing a tank top. By the end, we were searching for shade. It’s 74 degrees as I write this post pool-side and I suppose that is why, despite these fond snow day memories, I am thankful each day for living in the dry desert that I call home. Memories are beautiful things, but I don’t foresee a whole lot of snow days in my future unless they are on skiing vacations; now that’s a whole ‘nother story!
Memories come and memories go
some we hold tight,
others we want to throw.
When the layers pulled back we peel,
what matters most?
How they made us feel.