The memory of snow.If you are from Minnesota, you will have a memory of snow. Many. I remember bundling. These were not days of Polar fleece. No slim down jackets and pants. No these were days ofbundling. You put on all that you had to keep you warm, and then started to layer with your sibling’s larger clothes, until you almost couldn’t move. You bundled until the sweat started forming on the back of your neck, and the thoughts began to disappear of what you were going to do when you actually got out there.
A fresh snow could mean any sort of building. A fort. A man. Balls. On this day, I began rolling. The bundling made it hard to bend, so I made it bigger and bigger. Big enough that I stood upright to roll. And I rolled. And I rolled. My snowball was huge. It was the largest ever seen on Van Dyke Road. I kept rolling. The Norton girls would be so jealous.I rolled. My brother might notice me. Maybe even talk to me. I rolled. My mittens were wet. My hair was sweaty and freezing under my stocking cap. I rolled. It stood nearly as tall as my ten years. I rolled. Pushed. Grunted. The front yard was almost cleared. Brown grass caught a rare glimpse of the sun. And I rolled. Until I couldn’t. Until there was no snow left to pick up. Until I could push no more.
And there it was. The largest snowball I had ever seen. It was beautiful. White, bright snowball. I loved it. The kids talked about it on the school bus. Neighbors gave the thumbs up as they passed by. It was as large as the rock at the end of my grandparents’ driveway. It marked our house. Our winter. Our youth. My mom took my picture with it that day. And again in March. It was still there. And in June. Still there. Getting smaller, but still reached the top of my hand. The marigolds were coming up in the row that lined the driveway. And it was still there. I posed in front of the orange and gold flowers, in my orange and gold pants set, with one hand on the remaining snowball.
I had built something that lasted. Beyond the norm. Beyond its season. People throughout history have been doing it. In clay, and marble. Building their stories. Without our stories, we are nothing. So we carve, and forge and build and write and paint to tell our stories. To place them at the edge of a town’s road and say, we were here, we are here. Here is the viking-sized evidence of our lives.