I have a confession: I never got into the Christmas spirit in December, and I just figured out why: There was no snow.
That changed on last week, when I woke up to the leading edge of a storm that dumped a respectable layer of snow on the Valley.
I didn’t drag our potted Christmas tree back into the house or jump in the truck and run out and buy presents, but I did get that giddy, Christmas-morning feeling.
Snow is a better winter mood elevator than anything a drug company could invent.
When I hear about snowstorms in the mountains measured in feet rather than inches, I get a twitchy energy that makes it hard to sit still and concentrate on anything other than what’s going on outside and how much fun I am going to have. My attitude at work improves when I see nature’s confetti falling from the sky.
I may be stuck behind a desk, but in my mind, I am gliding down a slope and throwing a giant white roostertail of powder behind me.
Snow is 4-10 percent water, which means when you’re plowing through powder on your board or skis, you’re riding on about 95 percent air. That’s as close to flying as you can get without leaving the ground.
If you’ve ever pinned the throttle on a snowmobile and flown across a meadow full of fresh snow, you got the same feeling. When it taps into your nervous system, you will never again be satisfied with sub-freezing temperatures and bare ground.
Snow lets us all be kids again, and we can share in the vicarious anticipation of some officially sanctioned hooky when schools close. If that doesn’t jog some fond memories, you spent too much time in the library.
Even my Lab, Dusty, knows what snow means. She does a little spinning dance before I let her out to fetch the paper. She bolts out the door and slides down the driveway with the newspaper pinned to the ground, then grabs it and prances in the snow before bringing it to me.
She’s as excited about the snow as I am. When I take her on a hike, she’s jumping, burrowing and frolicking in the snow.
Yeah, I know. Snow has its hassles.
Commuting is slow and potentially dangerous. There are sidewalks and driveways to shovel.
But let me enjoy my snow buzz. It opens up a whole new batch of ways to have fun.
I finally get to break out all my snow toys, bundle up in warm clothes and get into a full-on winter groove.
I’m already counting my weekends and trying to figure out how to do it all. Hopefully, this is the first of many storms. It’s not uncommon to get big flurries into mid-April, so we could potentially have three months of snowstorms ahead. That leaves visions of powder days dancing in my head.
And as we know, snow is the gift that keeps giving. The snowpack will push us downstream during spring river floats, keep trout streams flowing and fill lakes and reservoirs so we have a place to escape the inevitable summer heat.
I know some don’t share my enthusiasm for snow, but it will be short-lived, so you can return to dead grass, bare trees and gray skies instead of glimmering, shimmering, frosty whiteness.
Snow was late this winter, but like any late Christmas present, it still brings joy.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.