My grandmother always drove me to kindergarten, except for one particular day when Kansas had received a record feet of snow for that year. Grandma refused to drive in the heavy snow, so Mom dressed me up in bright red tights, a short little plaid dress, a small, thin coat, and mittens, packed up my little brother in a snowsuit, and walked me up to school. I literally did walk to school with the snow up around my hips. I have a vivid memory of my mom holding me by the hand and struggling to keep a solid grip on my two-year-old brother who wiggled and cried to be released into the clean white powder.
I was not so enthusiastic about the experience. I absolutely hated it. I remember trying to lift my small feet up above the level of the snow and then plunging down to my hips into the cold endless sea of flakes. The tears froze on my face as I tripped and stumbled. No matter how much I protested, Mom was adamant that I was going to go to school that day. She dragged, pushed, and pulled me through the cold until we finally reached the doors of Stony Point North. I don’t know how Mom survived that walk of four miles holding on to a squirming, screaming baby in one arm and gripping the hand of a whining, crying five year old with the other, but she got us to the school. She dropped me off, walked back home, and changed the baby, just in time to turn right around and walk back up to the school to get me at three-thirty when class was over. I have no memory of how I got back home, but I do know this: I have hated snow ever since. I cannot stand being cold and the first snowfall does not make me feel all seasonal and jolly inside. Cold slides under my skin and into my tissues like an old soul.
As soon as I had the opportunity to move out of state, I headed for a warmer climate. I thought it wasn’t supposed to snow in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Imagine my surprise when I woke up on my first full day in town to find that ten inches of snow had covered everything the night before. Thankfully, it all completely melted, soaking into the normally hot earth, by one o’clock that afternoon. Maybe that’s what I have been searching for through all of my journeys: a place to feel warm, an area where the snow always dissolves into sunny, warm, clear days.