The major snow events of winter to date have passed north.  While a thin layer of snow covers the ground it is far too shallow for us to break out the snowshoes.  It has been cold and Afton Alps across the river in Minnesota and Trollhaugen 40 miles north of River Falls have been making snow and all trails are open.  I’m thinking about it…

My Friend Conor

A few weeks ago, my young friend and neighbor Conor – a four-year-old boy of great energy and always ready to wave and say ‘hello’ with a broad smile – built a small snowman complete with stick arms and a pine cone nose.  It has been too cold for the sunlight to completely erode it and the small, bottom snowball remains in Conor’s front yard to remind me of his work under the tutelage of his mom’s watchful eye.

Walking Hans this morning, I gazed at the dwindling snowman and recalled days long passed when I built snowmen.  Sixty-five years ago, we spent our waking hours outdoors regardless of season, temperature or weather.  We ran in packs, more like puppies than wolves, and whenever we were blessed with healthy snowfall, an army of snowmen rose up and took over our fine city of Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Russian novelist Eugene Vodolazkin writes about snowmen in his article “Kindergarten” for the Plough Magazine winter 2019 edition…

“In years past, there used to be more snow; in my kindergarten days we were always rolling giant balls of snow and pushing them in groups of three or four.  That’s when I grasped what it means for something “to snowball.”  The round mass we pushed would devour fallen snows with a crunch leaving behind uneven tracks, black from last year’s foliage.  The subsequent problem was that we couldn’t manage placing one of these giant snowballs on top of another.  This was the punishment for our megalomania.  We reminded ourselves of Robinson Crusoe, who, having hollowed out a tree trunk to make a canoe, was unable to drag it to the water.  Our monster globs would last until the end of winter and out of everything snowy in our garden they melted last.”

Yesterday morning, Clarence was barking at the living room window.  When I went to investigate, I saw Conor dressed in his snowsuit walking up the sidewalk to say hello.  He does that occasionally.  I wish all humans were as friendly as Conor.  I am keeping my eye on the forecast.  The next time it snows, I am going next door to ring Conor’s doorbell to see if he wants to build a snowman with me.

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