About 8:30, I slid into some black snow pants. Katy put elastics round her mittens to keep the snow from slipping down her sleeves. I kissed Sophia The Summer Time Dog goodbye on the nose and promised I would never, ever take her along sledding.

There was no one at Andrews Park except some fool with a dog. Well, he’s probably a very nice guy, but his timing wasn’t good. Katy and I were there to sled.

There was a streetlight a few blocks down that blinked and flashed like fire flies or shooting stars, orange, slightly industrial shooting stars.

The snow was vast, an ocean of snow, and the hill was a mountain.

After I finished my first ride, Katy got mad at me because I didn’t want to climb all the way to the top of the hill to start the next one.

I was afraid of ice. She told me to follow her, to walk sideways, to crawl forward like a bear.
I sat down in the middle of that hill and enjoyed a very nice ride.

By the end of the night, Katy and I raced, from the top.

I didn’t fall down on ice if I walked sideways or like a bear.

I won three times, thought it was because I weigh a bit more than my 11 year old daughter.
Further experimentation showed that I had been using the better sled, when we switched, she crushed me.
Of course, she also could have been letting me win all along and gotten sick of it.

I don’t want to know. But I wouldn’t mind going tomorrow night to find out.

And the world looks very different when I’m sprawled on a boogie board, head tilled back. The trees are upside town, the sky is closer and the snow smells sweet in it’s natural habitat.

Dripping on kitchen floors, clinging to mittens on the radiator, snow reeks of chores and arrogance and endless loads of laundry.

While I lay on my back, head tilted back off the sled, watching the sky, seeing for the first time how long the branches are on the oak tree that Katy crashed into six springtimes ago, the first time she took out the two wheeler, everything looked and smelled and sounded different.
Then my daughter called out- “Mom, I think it’s time to wrap it up… Where are your gloves… And why is your head in the snow?”

And we went home.

About a Week Before Christmas

December 18, 2013

The snow started about 2 pm today. By three I was on the phone with my boss checking to see if the Christmas party had been cancelled. It wasn’t. By four, I was trying to talk Sophie, the Dog that Would Really Like to Live In Miami, into going outside. By 5, both kids were with friends and I decided to have peanuts for dinner in honor of the party I was missing.

And at 7:30, under a snowy sky, I was standing on top of a very small hill wishing that I had mittens. Night sledding. The kids came home, and when they tripped over the snowboards left piled up by the back door, a brilliant idea was born. Night sledding.

I’ve never taken a ride on virgin snow. It’s puffy, not very slick, it kind of felt like the sled had had a little to much eggnog on the ride down.

We had only four of them, and there were five of us, so there was a certain amount of negotiation. Between the kids. I didn’t have to negotiate. I drove the car, and, they assumed, would make the hot chocolate when we got home. That gives a woman a few privileges.

“Katy, do you want to make snow angels?” Tue had spilled from the sled onto her back and was inspired.
“No, I didn’t come here to make snow angels,” Katy said, then snatched the sled from Tue. “But you can make snow angels,” she said sweetly.
“Mom, put your feed on the sled. Stop dragging them. There you go… Wasn’t that fun? You want to ride down with me?” Colin offered right before smashing me in the face with a snowball.

He then pummeled Kate, who responded by falling over and mewling like a kitten. An angry, wet kitten.

We slid down, we staggered up. Enough times that I didn’t even have to mention hot chocolate when I said it was time to head home.

In the car, in the quiet of heavy breath and windshields wiping “Ol Fifty Five” by Tom Waits came on the radio.

“As I pulled away slowly, feeling so holy, oh Lord, I was feeling alive.”
Merry Christmas and to all A Good Night.