by Valerie Nusbaum

It’s a Monday morning in mid-January 2023 as I type these words. Today’s high temperature is supposed to be somewhere around 50 degrees, and I’m wondering when—or if—we’ll see some snow.

I don’t miss that pre-Christmas deep-freeze, but I would like to feel a chill in the air and see some powdery white flakes. We’re in the winter season, after all. We actually need the cold temperatures and snow in order to prepare our planet for spring and summer and the growing seasons. I needed to stop myself just now and fondly remember my grandfather, since I’m sounding just like him. Well, like him, but without all the swear words and spitting. Pappy chewed tobacco.

I’m hoping that Randy doesn’t somehow read this column and get any bright ideas. I’d hate for him to use all my laundry detergent or instant mashed potatoes to try and coat the backyard in a white powdery substance. Can you imagine the suds if it rained? And we’ve probably all seen the commercial where the dad buys a paper shredder in order to make snow for his little daughter. No, Randy. Just no! I want the real thing or nothing at all. Snow is like Pandora jewelry and diamonds. Don’t give me any imitations.

So, in the interest of helping humanity, I decided to do a little research on why we need some snow and how it helps us.

First of all, the temperature of the Earth’s surface needs to be regulated. Snow helps to do that by cooling the ground. Colder temperatures associated with snow and winter are necessary for this cooling process. Melting snow makes water, which seeps into the ground and helps fill our rivers and reservoirs. Yes, rain does the same thing, but snow takes longer and, thus, may be more beneficial. Conversely, the snow acts as insulation for the soil in very cold temperatures, keeping the deeper layers from freezing. The insect population also benefits from snow insulating the ground in very cold weather. The opposite is also true, in that very cold weather can help to control the over-population of the insect communities.

I’m not an authority on global warming (or anything else, really) yet I do know that these balmy days are nice for getting outside and taking down the holiday decorations, but they’re not doing us any real favors in the long run. Don’t get me wrong, an occasional warm day in winter is a gift to be enjoyed, and I do. I also appreciate that it’s a blessing and a pleasure not to be shoveling snow and driving in icy conditions. I’m just saying that a few snow days might do us all some good.

Snow does force us to get some exercise. We just need to do it sensibly and carefully. There’s an opportunity for income, too, if any kids can tear themselves away from video games and phones and are interested in making a buck. My brother and his friends used to clean up, literally. A snow day allows some people to stay in bed and enjoy a lazy day. Yes, I realize that my previous statement doesn’t hold true for everyone. There are dedicated, hard-working people out there who have to show up for work and who provide the rest of us with clean roads and sidewalks and healthcare. I applaud each and every one of you. Thank you for doing your jobs and doing them well.

I’m not talking about a blizzard here, or two months of dealing with snow on the ground. I’d just like to see a few inches of the white stuff once in a while, preferably at a time when most people are indoors safe and warm. I don’t like frigid weather any more than you do, and I hate blustery winds.

Power outages scare me, too. Don’t get your knickers in a knot. I’m not trying to bring on Armageddon. I just want a little snow. It doesn’t even have to be enough to shovel or push. I don’t need to make snow ice cream or snow angels, although Randy does enjoy making anatomically correct snow sculptures and placing them outside Steve’s back door. In fact, the last time we made snow angels, we had to call for help getting up.

Picture, if you will, Punxsutawney Phil’s outrage when he pops his furry head out of the ground to discover a blanket of white, wet cold stuff all around. There’s nothing funnier than an angry groundhog, unless it’s two old people flat on their backs in the snow.

And don’t get me started on how romantic Valentine’s Day could be if you were snowed in with the one you love. Heck, the bickering and yelling probably wouldn’t start until halfway through the chocolate fondue. Maybe the snow could start the day before Valentine’s Day, and we’d all have excuses for not getting out to buy presents or cards or flowers.

If it helps, blame the cold and snow on me. Bring your snow and dump it in our yard. We’re retired and don’t have to be anywhere. We hardly ever bicker or yell and won’t mind being snowed in with each other. Randy’s office is two floors down from mine, and if the power goes out, we have gas—both propane and natural because I made a big pot of chili.

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