When it comes to snow, I have passed the point where I want to go out and play.
I still have our old sled. It has metal runners and wooden slats. It has a wooden handle at the top that is designed to steer the sled.
We really never got to steer it like an Olympic bobsled. Most of the time, it was a matter of finding a good hill and going straight down.
We also used other devices, such as a galvanized trash can lid, as a transport device during the snow. Friends at college have told me about sliding around on borrowed trays from the dining hall.
One year, my daughter and I were in Hiawassee when a big snow hit. I bought a plastic sled from the hardware store and it was a good one. We started down a big hill overlooking Lake Chatuge. We were laughing and having a great time when I realized we were heading straight for the lake. I dug my heels in the ground and reached out and grabbed a tree. We stopped on the edge of a rocky surface. Our next stop would have involved swimming.
That was the last time I intentionally went dashing through the snow.
This year, Old Man Winter came by and stayed. We’ve had several nice snows that were really pretty. We’ve reached the point that we want to rush out and make a picture of the house for next year’s Christmas card.
I’ve got the Christmas card picture and I am now ready for spring. I’m ready for the aforementioned Mr. Winter to pack his bags and head for South America.
However, I also have to remember that the biggest snowstorm of my lifetime came on March 13, 1993. That’s the day we had the blizzard. It was like a tropical storm, only with snow.
I’m ready for the sure signs of spring, like when the swallows return to the mission at San Juan Capistrano in California or the buzzards return to Hinckley, Ohio.
I don’t know if we have one of those sure-fire signs here in Georgia, but I’ve been looking for one.
I’ve got a couple of old maple trees in the front yard. Last year, some folks were worried they might die from a lack of water. We took care of that issue.
The trees have seen their better days and we have lost a few good branches along the way. They are sturdy old trees that have been a witness to lot of things. They’ve offered a shady canopy for several generations. They provided a place for kids to play, back in the days when kids played outside and climbed trees.
I looked up the other morning and saw the buds had made their debut and will soon be bringing forth new leaves.
We may not have swallows or buzzards that return on the same day every year, but somewhere in that old maple tree is a wonderful little factory that man cannot replicate. It is our annual miracle of life to tell us that spring is here and we should bask in the beauty of it all.
I guess I’ll get that sign after all.
Harris Blackwood is a columnist for The Times. His column appears every week in Sunday Life.