Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Snow, Snow, lots of Snow

It's been snowing here. A lot. I don't think we've had a snow-free week since mid-November, which is unusual. Where's the global warming when you need it?

That's okay, I don't mind much. I'd much rather have an unreasonably long, sometimes horribly cold winter with the beauty and fun of the snow than without it. And believe me, we've had plenty of winters without much of it. And besides, the snow brings with it plenty of wonderful discussions of precipitation, climates and temperatures, molecular physics, weather in general and - of course - it's just plain fun.

We haven't been playing in it much though, which is unfortunate. I've been realizing that, even though winter isn't exactly my favorite season and I would much rather stay out of the cold as much as possible, this is Hunter's only winter ever of being three years old and he's never going to get the wonderful experiences of snow play unless I make the jump.

So this evening I had one of those "spur of the moment" occurrences and, as there were just a few minutes of sunlight left in the sky I said, "Hunter, do you want to go make a snowman?"

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of a snowman to show you because unfortunately, there was no suitable snow to make one. The snow may have been about eight-inches deep but the amount of packing snow was zero.

Even though we didn't get to make a snowman, we still had a lot of fun for the whole thirty minutes we were out there.

After I distracted him from attempting to form a snowman out of non-packing snow right outside the door (Why not, Mom?) he headed straight for mid-yard and laid down to make a snow angel, a skill which I can't be credited with for teaching him (Uncle David? Probably the likely instructor.) As usual, he's always surprising me with what he knows.

Subsequently, he immediately got back to the business of what we were out there for (creating a man of snow) while I hopelessly snapped away with my camera.

After watching him carry handfuls of fluff over to a growing mound of snow for a while, I decided I had better get down and explain the disappointing news: Sorry kid, no snowman today.


"Well, because, it's not the right kind of snow..."

I started to mumble around, trying to find a more definitive response that satisfied his curiosity and mine.

What exactly
is packing snow, I wondered. How do you explain something to your kid that you don't quite no the answer to yourself?

I came up with something about how this snow is light and fluffy because it has a lot of air in it and not as much water and snowman snow has more water in it, so it sticks together to form balls and blocks and such. I think.

Truth be told, I have no clue what makes packing snow pack and fluffy snow, well, not. Water and air? Sounds good to me. But in the end, it's nothing more than an educated guess, which I suppose is okay sometimes.

I suppose that is, in a sense, the beauty of parenting. We can give kids all we've got, teach them all the "why's" and "how's" that we know and then in the end, we let them go discover all the questions we've left unanswered.

We had more fun talking about weather and science topics. There was steam pouring from the drain by the basement window, which he pointed out and we talked about what it was. We talked about how snow is made when water crystalizes, and had a really fun time studying the amazing frost patterns left on the windows. God certainly is an amazing artist.

We said goodnight to the sun as it made its "journey" to China. We've been talking a lot about where the sun goes when we sleep (the rotation of the planets) as well as the orbit and tilt of the planet (i.e. the reason for the season). He seems to be gobbling it up, or at least talking about it a lot. Maybe he can't fully comprehend it all yet but that doesn't mean I shouldn't talk about it (and, truly, can any of us actually comprehend the vastness of space and the wonders of the universe?)

It's been a fun evening.

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
Isaiah 1:18

Hunter is 3 years, 9 months old

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