I grew up in Western New York state. To the north was Lake Ontario and to the south was Lake Erie. Winters there were always a world of white. I remember three official blizzards, the most popular being the Blizzard of 77. Schools were closed an entire week from the effects of that storm.
I now live in Minnesota. We get winter here too, although most years have not held the snow amounts that I experienced growing up. I know Minnesota has had official blizzards, but in the 17 years I have lived here, we have not had one. In fact, this winter has been the harshest since relocating.
There is a definite difference in the kind of snow experienced in the two locations. In New York, snow was almost always lake effect. A cold front would move over one of the two very close warmer great lakes and lake effect snow would be the result. That snow, having developed over the lake, was heavy and wet. My dad had a snow blower, but often we would all end up shoveling because the snow was so wet, it would jam the augers of the snow blower. In Minnesota, even though it is the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes, those lakes freeze in the winter and the snow is usually a dry, powdery type snow. I remember the first winter we lived here and we saw our neighbor clearing her deck and steps of the accumulated snow with a broom. I had never seen that before!
Because the snow in New York was a wet snow, making things with it was always easy. Snowballs, snow forts, snow sculptures and snowmen were common in neighborhoods like I grew up in. Sledding conditions were optimal because the wet snow would pack down and freeze overnight. There was a sledding hill behind our house. I remember being there for hours at a time, never tiring of sliding down, walking up and sliding down again. (Sadly, that hill is no longer there) One of the things we loved to do was see who could make the largest ball of snow. It would start as a little ball and, as we rolled it in snow, the diameter would increase. The more we rolled it, the larger it got.
As I was thinking about the condition of life right now and the multiple stressors that are on my plate, my thoughts became like that snowball. As I thought of one thing, another would attach to it and the stress level would increase. As I thought about mistakes I may have made that may be a contributing factor in some of these things, my mind instantly went to what a failure I have been as a parent. The snowball grew bigger and bigger.
I’m hoping, like the snow in a warm sun, that the snowball begins to melt. I am losing strength to keep pushing it, but if I stop pushing it, I fear it will roll backwards on to me and crush me completely.