Snow makes for a wet blan­ket

The Covington News - - Opinion - Tharon Gid­dens Edi­tor Tharon Gid­dens is edi­tor of The Cov­ing­ton News. Reach him at (678) 750-5011 or at tgid­dens@cov­

Kids and ca­nines love snow.

Cats and codgers like my­self have less use for it.

Our Maine coon cat, Hades, ran out the back door to our home Sun­day night when I was look­ing out at the fall­ing ice pel­lets cov­er­ing our deck. He knows he’s not sup­posed to go out at night (pos­sums here are twice his size), and he thought he’d pulled off some great es­cape, un­til half­way down the deck it ap­par­ently dawned on him that the white stuff un­der­foot and all about was cold, and even worse, wet.

He stopped, yowled his dis­plea­sure, and made his way un­der the deck.

I didn’t have to go out and call in­ces­santly this time, he was ready to come back in, cold, wet and in­dig­nant.

I was up late, watch­ing the snow ac­cu­mu­late in the back yard. Snow, or any form of frozen pre­cip­i­ta­tion for that mat­ter, has al­ways held great fas­ci­na­tion for me. Grow­ing up in south Ge­or­gia, I never saw more than a fickle flake or two at most un­til I was 17. Snow was some­thing ex­otic, some­thing to cel­e­brate, to im­merse your­self in and play with.

But snow has be­come some­thing bet­ter en­joyed looked at from the rel­a­tive warmth of our so­lar­ium. Sure, there are tac­tile plea­sures to be had in an en­counter with frozen pre­cip­i­ta­tion. There’s the sat­is­fy­ing crunch un­der­foot, and the great si­lence bro­ken by the sound of small ice pel­lets fall­ing on mag­no­lia leaves to en­joy, but such de­lights are now out­weighed by the shivers brought on by a slower metabolism and the ex­as­per­a­tion of al­ready achy bones. Cold com­forts in­deed. Still, the soft predawn glow off the snow Mon­day held prom­ise for a fun walk. Donna and I lay­ered up and headed out. It was pretty, but cold, with a wet wind whip­ping rain in our faces. I had ice crys­tals in my beard. Donna made it to the Ox­ford soc­cer field be­fore turn­ing around, but I kept go­ing to­ward the main cam­pus, look­ing for some­one to take a photo of for the paper.

In col­lege, snow meant no classes and a ton of fun, snow­ball fights with par­tic­i­pants num­ber­ing in the hun­dreds at UGA, sled­ding down the hill at Le­gion Field on a lunch­room tray, or just a sim­ple walk through Old Cam­pus.

I walked over to the quad at Ox­ford, but there was no one out and about. I had it to my­self. There was one other set of foot­prints, and tracks on the road made it ev­i­dent that I wasn’t alone in the world, but there was no snow­man, no snow­balls fly­ing, noth­ing.

I walked be­hind the dorms to a stu­dent park­ing area, and there were cars there, ice-and-snow cov­ered, which in­di­cated that folks do in­deed at­tend the school, but there was no sign of who may have parked them there. One car had a Florida li­cense plate, surely they would be out in the snow, but no.

It’s dif­fer­ent now, I know. My own off­spring are more blasé about such won­ders as snow, or sit­ting qui­etly in a dark­ened room watch­ing the light­ning of an ap­proach­ing storm.

But here was four inches of stuff on the ground that could be shaped into very sturdy snow­balls and even more for­mi­da­ble snow peo­ple, and no one out to en­joy it.

And then it struck me, it wasn’t them, it was me. I had be­come that old guy who in sum­mer rails at the neigh­bor kids to keep off the grass, and rants how much bet­ter life was back in the day.

It was 9 a.m., well into my day, but these kids were be­ing kids, sleep­ing in late. There was plenty of time for them to en­joy the snow and life.

I headed on home, alone in the world, just a wan­derer in a frigid land­scape, won­der­ing about when the joys of sleep­ing in cozy com­fort un­til noon had left me be­hind.

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