Winter is more than just a couple months of bad gardening.
Another inch or so of snow settled during the night, snow as fine as parmesan cheese grated off the bottom of the clouds. As I pushed it off my car, I pondered again how many different kinds of snow there are and how many different kinds we’ve seen this year. Last week it was the sodden, thick kind of snow, the snow that makes shoveling nearly impossible and which often has a layer of water at the bottom, water that so easily turns to ice.
And then a week or two before we had fine builder’s snow, the kind of snow that almost falls into snowballs and snow creatures. It sticks together with just a few pats of the hand and, what’s even better, the weather surrounding this kind of snow is often warm enough that serious snow building can happen. Sometimes, when this kind of snow has fallen, I’ve wanted to clear my drive way by making those colossal snow balls I made as a child in grade school. I’d roll them up and down the drive and then push the huge snow-boulders onto the lawn and sculpt something amazing from them. Since we live in a college town, it’s not uncommon to see snow critters more creative than merely humanoids. My plan for the next snow is to make a 10 foot tall giant head, like the stones on Easter Island. (I read Thor Hyerdahl’s “Aku Aku” as a boy and I’ve been in love with the magic of prehistoric stone sculptures ever since.) But if I’m entirely honest, I probably won’t do any of that, not the snow-boulders, not the large sculpture; I’ll waste the next building-snow just like I squandered that last one. I’m less likely to warm up with hot chocolate after building a snow whimsy than I am to sip a cup of coffee while just looking out the window. Both are good ways to harvest a snow fall, I suppose.
And that’s what I really wanted to say. As I survey then garden, it’s so easy to see what’s not there, to think about the plants and the flowers and the vegetables. Winter is more than just a couple months of bad gardening. We’ve had a pretty fine crop of snow this year in our winter garden.