Editor Blog – My “Snow Hat”

The+%E2%80%9Cmagical%E2%80%9D+snow+hat+that+I+have+worn+the+whole+month+of+December+even+with+the+warm+temperatures%3B+I+know+it+will+eventually+lead+to+great+snowfalls+in+our+region+this+winter.+

The “magical” snow hat that I have worn the whole month of December even with the warm temperatures; I know it will eventually lead to great snowfalls in our region this winter.

I am always inspired by a yearly tradition of picking out the family Christmas tree, this year it occurred on Sunday, December 4, 2011.

I prepare to get ready for my family’s yearly trek to the Ridilla Christmas Tree Farm. Despite the scene of the sun shining across the green-turned-brown yard out of my window, I dress as usual for the tree farm – three layers of long sleeve shirts, a pair of jeans, and of course, my winter coat and hat.

As I carefully place my hat over my head and head outside through the door, I realize the temperature is in the fifties, not the teens and it is sunny, not snowing. I question the weather, but assure myself that by the time we get to the farm, the snow will be falling down, creating that familiar, traditional holiday scene of snow billowing down from the grey clouds full of snow and gingerly covering each piece of the pine trees that are lined up for miles, like a detailed artist.

Traveling, I realize its getting a bit hot with the extra insulation around my body and head and open up the window for a surprisingly warm breeze. Sweat descends across my forehead and down my cheeks, but I still hold out for the snowflakes!

My entire family arrives at the farm, in a parade, car after car, totaling nine. I open the car door, expecting that brisk wind to swoosh past my cheeks, but to my dismay, just a small breeze of warmth brushes past. I note the warm air, sun shining, and pines clear of snow.

The “magical” snow hat that I have worn the whole month of December even with the warm temperatures; I know it will eventually lead to great snowfalls in our region this winter.

Being optimistic, although it was fifty degrees and my head was drenched, I decided I would continue to wear my winter wear in hopes that flakes would soon begin to fall. I witnessed some odd looks and questions concerning my hat from my family, but I knew that if continued to wear it, a snowflake may just grace my presence before we found the perfect tree. We spent hours walking up and down the rows and rows of trees, comparing heights, fullness, and needle type until we found that one perfect, “2011 Singer Family Christmas Tree,” all without one flake falling.

I was further in panic; our Christmas tree had been chosen, chopped down and tied to the top of the car and I still was not in the holiday spirit, still lacking something, a integral piece to the holiday season: snow.

With the beginning of December here, I continue to ask myself, “Where is the snow?” Sure, we had a bit at the end of October that got everyone excited yet it melted before the day was over. Really, we have only seen a trace of snow since.

Many see the lack of snow as a welcome sight, but something is very wrong with this picture.

I know I’ll have my critics, but I can’t help but long for each and every snow fall throughout the winter, the calming renewal that each new, perfect, untouched snowfall brings, the reflection of the sun on the snow making the whole world brighter, and distinctiveness of each flake. The simple crisp, cool and serene scenes of a fresh snow fall and the brightness and stark white Mother Nature brings through a snowfall exhibits nature’s true beauty.

Maybe it’s in my blood – I was born on the coldest day of the century on January 19, 1994, when a brisk -220 was the low temperature of the day, the wind chill well into the negative thirties. Don’t believe me? It took over an hour to get from Ligonier to Latrobe hospital that night – just ask my parents.

Everyone has to admit that they enjoy the countless snow delays and cancellations that mangle the school schedule and calendar throughout the year, the gossip occurring on facebook the night before a big snow storm on whether a delay or cancellation will occur the next day.  I love the sometimes childish, but still enjoyable snow games, waiting for that perfectly right snow that has the right moisture content, the wet stuff that compiles perfect, so I can build a snowmen that towers in the front yard in delight of the weather.

The same snow allows for stockpiles of snowballs in preparation for that annual neighborhood snowball fight, each finding their hiding place well in advance of its start.

If it gets cold enough, I cannot help but enjoy a skate (or walk in my case) on the frozen pond, carefully watching and listening for cracking. A good natured family game of hockey always seems to arise, using old sticks found after rummaging in the garage and a rock for the puck. The smell of wood smoke ascends as we all gather around the warmth of the fire.

Quite possibly my favorite is sled riding. My backyard being a hill allows a great glide down and the accumulation of people, not just snow, joining in the fun. The long, old toboggan is pulled down from the garage, its burlap string rough, and as many kids as possible run on and swoosh down the hill.

Scorching glasses of hot chocolate, piled high with whipped cream and marshmallows always provide a great ending to a snowy day. That’s just the tip of the iceburg when it comes to winter’s many delights.

As the winter season soon officially starts, for me it’s a real snowfall is at least over six inches (so the snow we got on December 7, 2011 didn’t really count, but it’s a step in the right direction – maybe my hat is working?) I will continue to wear my hat, even on fifty degree days and with optimism, I will wear the hat daily in the remaining days of December and all of January, February, March and April, when foot after foot of snow will indeed cover our worlds.