Pemberton: Weekend snow is a weekday drudge


It was the night before my column deadline, and I had no idea what I should write about. My mind was void of ideas or inspiration. So I asked my friend Rusty, who always seems to have an answer for everything, if he had an idea for the column. Without even hesitating, through a mouth full of chicken, he mumbled, “snow.”

(I know. I had no idea where this was going either at the time, but bear with me.)

“Snow?” I asked.

“Yep. Snow.” He said.

I looked out the window. There wasn’t a hint of snow on the ground.

I waited patiently for the explanation I knew was coming.

After a few thoughtful minutes and a few more bites of food, he elaborated.

“Think about it. Snow is loved on Saturday but hated on Monday. It’s beautiful when it first falls and disgusting after a few days of sitting on the road. It’s soft and delicate on its own, but if a snowball hits you in the face, it packs a pretty wicked punch. Snow is interesting.”

I decided not to ponder whether he was using snow as a metaphor for life, and instead decided to think about snow in its literal form.

And you know what? He’s right. The more I thought about snow, the more interesting it became.

Snow can be either a highly anticipated, welcomed weekend activity or a dreaded early morning drive to work. Snow either compels us to excitedly pull out our sleds and skis, or forces us to grudgingly drag out our snow shovels and ice scrapers.

I recalled a few weeks ago, when our little mountain town had transformed into a winter wonderland overnight. Everywhere you looked was a shimmering, blinding sheet of white. For a few days, our world was quiet and life had come pretty much to a complete stop. Nature’s way of slowing us down maybe?

That Saturday morning, we became children. We pulled out our sled and found a few good hills. (The best one is at the Black Mountain golf course, by the way.) We built snow men with friends. It was a great day of snow play. I love snow!

Then came Monday morning. All of the sudden the snow that had been so much fun was now a nuisance. The ice on my road that had been an entertaining, slippery slope just yesterday was all of the sudden a hazard. I found myself spreading salt on the ice and grumbling about being late for work because of the snow. I had become an adult again, and it was the snow’s fault. I hate snow!

Overall, I really do enjoy the snow. And I’m hopeful we’ll have one more good snow this winter before spring blooms. In the meantime, I found some fun facts about snow that are great conversation starters for the next snowfall.

  • Did you know that the largest snowflake that ever fell was 15 inches wide? Really! It was during a snowstorm in 1887 in Montana, and it’s still on display. Not really. It melted that same year.
  • Snow is not really white. It’s translucent, which means that light does not pass through it easily, but is rather reflected. So it’s the light reflected off the snowflake that makes it appear white.
  • The most snow to fall in a 24-hour period in the United States is 75.8 inches. This happened in Colorado in 1921. So stop complaining about our mere 12 inches.
  • Hate snow? You might want to move to Key West. Snow has never been reported there.
  • All snowflakes have six sides.
  • Chionophobia is the fear of snow. Who knew?
  • And last but not least, people buy more cakes, cookies and candies than any other food when a blizzard is in the forecast.

Rusty was right. Snow is interesting.