I hate spring snow. I just hate it. The fat, slow falling, dreary clumps of slush that pour down on us, masquerading as snowflakes. The wet, cold, raw air.
The sad little tips of the daffodils poking up through the icy mud.
I hate it.
Today the spring slush is falling on my still snowy yard. The kids and I are inside the house, huddling near the wood stove in an effort to keep warm. Why does it feel so much colder in March when it snows than in January when the frigid winds are blowing?
This weather makes me physically yearn for warmth, sunshine, a dry sandy beach.
But I’m stuck here in New England with spring slobbering its way through the woods.
So I’m casting my mind back, through the many years, to another March day in this very same part of the world.
I’m going back 29 years, to the spring when we had just moved into this house. I was about 4 months pregnant with my second child. It was early in the pregnancy, but I was already awkward and off balance.
One morning I woke up to see heavy flakes of slush falling through the air. The sky was low, gray and forbidding. I didn’t feel like sitting at home in this neighborhood where I didn’t know a soul. It seemed like a good day to drive around, maybe get to know the area a bit.
My daughter Kate was four years old. A happy little sprite who was always up for an adventure. The two of us set off to see the world, trying to ignore the blops of mush on the windshield.
In the town next to ours, I found a big furniture store, housed in an old wooden building. There was a wide farmer’s porch running the length of the building, and rows of rocking chairs were set out for sale. They made me think of summer nights, and I was intrigued.
I got Katie out of the car and we headed up the worn planks of the front steps, onto the porch. The interior of the store, I remember, was kind of dark and felt damp. The furniture was way out of my price range, but it was nice to just walk around a bit. I like the old timey feeling of the place and it made me happy about our move.
There was an “older gentleman” in the store. (Looking back, I’m sure he was younger then than I am now. Still, he seemed old to this young momma!) We chatted a bit, but it didn’t make a big impression.
Then Kate and I headed back out toward the car.
The slush was falling thick and fast at that point, the the wooden steps were coated. As I reached for Kate’s hand, I felt myself slip. My fit went out from under me, and I landed gracelessly and painfully on my rear. Before I could really react, the older man came out of the store and helped me gently to my feet.
“Come sit down,” he said very calmly but firmly.
I was embarrassed, and also soaking wet. My knees were shaky from the shock of falling, but I knew that I wasn’t hurt. “I’m fine,” I said, intending to slink off into the car with Kate and forget the whole thing.
“Momma,” the man said, “You need to sit for a minute. We need to wait just a bit till you catch your breath.”
I remember that he had very blue eyes, and that they looked worried. I realized that he was worried, not about me and my snowy bottom, but about the baby I was carrying.
“OK,” I said. He lead us inside, and I sat in one of the comfortable wooden rockers. I held Kate on my lap. We started to chat again, but this time both of us were paying more attention.
The man asked about Kate, about her age and her name and her favorite toys. I told him that we had just moved to town and he gave me pointers about local stores, parks, restaurants.
I don’t know how long I sat. Not long, I’m sure. After a few minutes, it was clear that all was well and that other than my pride, I hadn’t hurt anything of importance.
I shook hands with the thoughtful man, whose name I have either forgotten or never thought to ask. Kate and I went back home, through the slush, into the safety and warmth of our new house.
A house which now felt cozy and comforting, because I knew that we had landed in place where people were naturally kind.
Remembering that long ago encounter, I am feeling just a little bit better about the stuff that is falling relentlessly from the sky.