I live at the tippy top of New York state, sometimes referred to as “Upstate”, but that’s a superfluous statement in my opinion. It’s typically used by city folk to describe anything north of the Statue of Liberty. Syracuse, Rochester, or Albany? Please. I live hours and hundreds of miles north of those locations. That might blow some people’s minds to realize there is land beyond Albany-New York, but I assure you, there is. I hail from the land of the great Adirondacks. Where there’s deer, cornfields, cows, and more Maple trees than you can shake a stick at. If you watch Game of Thrones, you could call where I live, “Beyond The Wall.” Today is a special day in the life of my fellow North Countrymen; our first real snowfall. It’s a wondrous day of terror, beauty, chaos, and nostalgia all rolled in one. We are the snow-folk of upstate New York, so c’mon, let’s talk some shit.
I learned to drive a snowmobile/snowmachine at around the age of four, and tore apart/cleaned my first carburetor at around ten. I am a creature of the snow. When I see those magical white crystals fall from the sky, and blanket my green lawn; it’s poetry. It’s almost morbid in a way though. The green grass, the trees with their foliage, and the wild flowers are synonymous with life. Then you see the trees shed their leaves. The grass thins, and shifts its hue to a browner shade. The outside world around you is dying in a sense. Then…One day. It changes. Our snow gods deem us worthy, and shower us in their glorious white magic, and the outside world is shielded with a glistening blanket of protection.
Everything about the winter season has always been close to my heart. As if the winter wonderland wasn’t beautiful enough; we get Christmas too. It was almost too much excitement when I was a young lad. To top it all off, you had outside activities! Skiing, snowboarding, sledding, building snow-forts, and the creme de la creme of them all….Snowmobiling. My poor mother nervously watched over her four polar bear cubs (my brothers and I) play and fight in the snow for hours on end for many years. We were always lovingly adorned in our cold weather armor before the day’s battle; sandwich bags in our boot liners were not a rare occurrence. Our father would wake up early on “Snowdays” and build us a snow mountain with a Backhoe (Tractor like machine for you city folk.) Our personal Mt.Everest would touch the clouds some years. (In reality, it was maybe ten or fifteen feet high), but when you’re five, it might as well have been one hundred feet tall. We would stay outside until our snot froze to our faces, and our boot laces were like rods of metal dragging in the snow. Every hour or so, someone had to go inside because they got hurt, albeit from being pushed off our mountain, or being run over by the snowmobile, but they were casualties of our snow wars, and were to be expected.
(^My older brother and I a few years back; raising hell.^)
You would think after experiencing twenty-eight “First Snows” in my life, that the magic would dull. I literally have butterflies in my stomach as I’m writing this. The nostalgia is so strong I can smell the exhaust fumes from our snowmobiles right now. You can stand outside with the pristine cold air that freezes your nose hairs when you inhale. I feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t get the chance to experience this magic. Yeah yeah, Palm Trees and white sandy beaches are cool, but that ain’t my bag baby. I’m a Northman. I was born into the snow, molded by it. I was nearly a man before I saw a tropical beach. (Cancun-Senior year)
I look back at all of my amazing winter adventures with my family, and I feel amazingly lucky to have experienced them. My caring mother tended our frozen wounds, and my father created our frozen Colosseum. I can’t express how excited I am to share our winter customs with my daughter Aela. I doubt I will be able to provide as much as my parents did, but I will do my absolute best. She needs to learn how to make the perfect snowball. She needs to be able to trick her friends into eating yellow snow. She needs to experience the frozen Nirvana that is riding a snowmobile. She needs to experience a one hundred mile snowmobile trek through the Adirondack Mountains….
And she will.
Happy First Snow friends!