By Leslie Criss
“Well, I know now. I know a little more how much a simple thing like a snowfall can mean to a person.”
– Sylvia Plath
“Snow flurries began to fall and they swirled around people’s legs like house cats. It was magical, this snow globe world.”
– Sarah Addison Allen
“Hope is a waking dream.”
For a little more than a half century – give or take a few early years – I’ve been filled with hopes for snow.
And in those early years, my hopes were often gratified by snowfalls that measured more than adequately on a wooden ruler – or more importantly, were deep enough that boots were a necessity.
I know because I have snow memories. And there are photos aplenty. One is taped to the side of my computer screen. It’s my mother, young and vibrant and a relatively new mom, holding her blue-eyed, tow-headed toddler swaddled like a mummy.
She’s standing in my grandparents’ large yard in my hometown of Grenada, and there’s snow on the trees, on the ground, and a snowball, caught by the camera just as my mama reaches out to catch it.
In my youth, I prayed for snow. Not because it meant a day – or two – free from school, though that was a glorious by-product of the white powdery coldness.
I just loved the stuff. And even though the cold, dampness makes my old knee hurt, I still love it.
The differences in my childhood snow hopes and today’s are varied.
When I was a little girl and on through my 20s, no amount of snow was enough.
Oh, sure, I had fun playing in whatever the inch count, but I’d always wish for a few feet more.
If we enjoyed two days of snow in January, well, why couldn’t it snow for a whole week?
These days I’m quite content with whatever falls, be it a dusting or a blizzard.
There were times when I took it personally, the no-snow-falling business. In fact, my motto for several decades became, “where I am, snow isn’t.”
My dad told me when I spent a year and a half at Ole Miss in graduate school I’d see lots of snow because, “if it snows anywhere in the state, it snows in Oxford.”
Not one flake fell my entire time in Oxford.
I spent eight years in Vicksburg writing for the newspaper there. During that time, there were predictions of ice and snow and sleet. But for several specks of sleet every now and again, those forecasts failed to come to fruition – until I left Vicksburg, heading to Northeast Mississippi.
Then I received calls from dear friends telling me of all the snow I was missing.
Living so close to Tennessee would surely mean snow – and mounds of it. That, it seems, is an urban myth or perhaps it was wishful thinking.
Nevertheless, these days I don’t stay up all night, staring at the streetlight in search of snow.
If it comes, I rejoice quietly. If it falls, I sit back and enjoy the beauty, not agonizing about whether or not it’ll accumulate.
Still and yet, every single winter I start all over again.
Hoping for snow.