Heidi Mae Bratt
Heidi Mae Bratt

Let It Snow

Snow. It’s not political. Not controversial. Not connected to any religious affiliation. It’s just white. And cold.

And yet, it evokes strong emotion. Ah! The picturesque white stuff! The pristine blanket! The twinkle at night! The quiet!

Oy! The digging of the car! The slowed-down commute! The wet mess! The pain!

How I feel about snow, I suppose, depends on the day, and on which side of the windowsill I’m on. It also depends on whether I need to brave the weather, or whether I can enjoy it.

But ’tis the season. And if we have a northeast winter, I would say that —  not having conferred with the Farmer’s Almanac — we will see some snow this year.

My first real snow memory would be in first grade. We were coming home from school on the bus, which dropped us off on the corner. It just snowed and the block of single and two-family homes looked beautiful. The small patch of lawn in front of our house looked especially beautiful. In fact, it looked perfect. It was the proverbial blanket of white. I loved the way it looked so much, I wanted it to look that forever. But that was not to be, because my friend and neighbor, Linda, thought to tramp on the lawn, and destroy its perfection with her little footprints.

“Please come off,” I asked. No movement off. “Come off the lawn, PLEASE,” I beseeched. Not a move.

Ok, then, I thought. And here, dear reader, is where it becomes a bit not-so-nice. In wanting to preserve my lawn, I had to remove Linda, who was now stomping up a storm to spite me. So, with my little first-grade schoolbag, I swatted her. She got off.

I learned an early lesson then that violence did not pay. The lawn was already messed up. Besides, Linda’s mother yelled at me for what I did.

Snowy days were always a glory when the schools closed. It was like being sick, but so much better because we weren’t sick! We stayed at home and watched television. And later, we got to go out and play. That would mean snowball fights and attempts at building a snowman. When we were done, we’d come back inside to be greeted by a hot cup of chocolate milk, a grilled cheese sandwich, and bowl of tomato soup.

Later, the snow became an even better friend when I took up skiing.

I came to the sport later in life, but because my instructor was so encouraging, telling me that I had “naturally strong ski legs,” I took to it with a passion. That winter, I got to shush the slopes of the White Mountains, the Green Mountains, the mountains in western Massachusetts, and even the mountains in Canada.

But it wasn’t until I had the chance to ski in the Alps that the snow was really my BFF! I got the chance to ski from Switzerland to France — for lunch. I was on a travel assignment, and while I was placed with the beginner group (don’t think that all that skiing put me on black diamond trails!), we slowly found our way into France. I remember how seamless the border crossing was. There were no guards, no trumpets, no big deal. There was just a flag to indicate that we’d crossed the border. Nevertheless, it remains a great snow memory for me.

Sadly, adult responsibility has overtaken me and the beauty of snow has eluded me. But perhaps this season, when the snow starts to fall, and even if the commute gets complicated, and the car needs digging, and the street looks wet-messy, I can remember those lovely snowy days and the pleasures that it brought, and simply enjoy.



About the Author
Heidi Mae Bratt is an award-winning journalist and the editor of About Our Children, the parenting magazine for the Jewish Standard.