The weather forecast for the Seattle area for the past three days has been ‘snow’. Last night meteorologists said there could be up to a few inches on the ground by the time we woke.
Just to double-check their accuracy, I woke at 3:30am. Actually, I usually wake at 3 am now. It seems to go hand in hand with growing older. You are forced to focus more on day, less on night. Yet this morning there was no snow. Only the swoosh of wind, a swirl of clouds, and a steady silence all through my little dark house tucked on a hill in Ballard.
I came down to the computer in the kitchen, made coffee in the murky dark, then peered through the paned windows at the wind and rain and thought…where’s the snow? Whatever weather these ‘experts’ say we’re going to have, it always feels more like…’Whether.”
‘Whether’ seems to by my professional calling, too. Every day, all day, even at 3 am…Whether to tidy the house or tred outside on errands? Whether to praise, push, or protect my young? Whether to fast or feast? Whether to bring all of the kids, or none of the kids, or some of the kids, or extra kids? Whether to stay or go, sit or stand, walk or wait…and what is the actual weather, again?
On Sunday Katriel clapped with glee when the snow did come. “The weatherman is finally right!” she screamed. “It’s snowing. Real snow. In our yard!” The three girls went out in one crazy get-up after the next and stomped those flakes away almost as fast as they fell.
We then took all of the kids to Green Lake for a walk in that beautiful dusting of snow. I fretted over everyone’s clothes, their shoes, how we all still have the wrong kind of mittens for actual ice. I piled on layers of clothes for me, while the kids grumbled about wearing coats. Yet once there, the ‘weather’ didn’t matter at all. Because Annalise smiled and began to write messages to her friends in the snow. Because dogs scampered past us in padded slippers and jaunty woolen jackets just their size. Because parents pulled bundled babes on sleds around the lake. My Juliet whacked snow off of douglas fir branches with a stick, made snow angels, and was content to be in her own ‘whether-free’ world. So was I.
Katriel patiently posed for me and my camera, the only one of my five still willing to do so, and I snapped away, capturing joy. I cartwheeled and Jacob smiled once or twice and the dusting of snow changed our view of the world just enough to make it fresh again.
At home, I went back to dishes. And dirt. The headlines and hang-ups and “Hey, stop that…right now!”
Then Eli came in off the back porch with something in his hands. I thought it might be a snow ball or snow bomb or snow AK-47, or some similar thing a fifteen year old boy would make out of ice. But what Eli held in his hands was a snow bunny. For me.
And just like that, the ‘whether’ that had been forming like a billowing storm cloud over the horizon morphed into a haze of lightly falling love, which washed over me like the fine dusting of snow still clinging to my window panes.