I am in my head, still four years old. It’s a case of arrested development. This morning, for example, I left the house bare handed. I headed down the horse enclosure and ran my hands along the body of the red car. I then stopped and looked in awe at the flakes in my hands. I next poked at these flakes with the index finger of my right hand. It occurred to me that each flake has its own individual pattern. And together, these flakes have a collective pattern.
My musings were interrupted by what I can only describe as intense pain. I shook my hand off, jumped up and down, and
stuffed my hands in my coat pockets, briefly feeling around for the mismatched mittens that I’d left on the window ledge of the kitchen addition. I felt around some, in order to see what the pockets contained. But this act of exploration was also an excuse—I also hoped to restore warmth to my now numb fingers. All that materialized was a wad of crumbled tissue, two horse treats, and a strand of baling twine.
I continued on down to the horse pen, deep in thought. Then, that is at age four, and now, at age none of your business, it seemed to me odd that snow could be so cold. Yes, it’s frozen water. But why so cold? Snow, close up, looks like a latticework of intricate lace. And snow, at the distance, looks like a warm winter blanket.
Indeed, snow is a blanket (of sorts). It insulates the critters that’ve burrowed into the frozen layers of soil. And come spring, it will melt and provide them with much needed water. This blanket holds up the smaller animals, such as the mice and voles that skitter across and underneath its surface. And it compresses when the larger animals, such as moose, lumber across its surface.
I opened the horse pen gate, unlatched it, and then latched it again. I had hoped, but knew that I could not tend to the horses unless I had gloves on. So I went back up to the cabin, retrieved them, put them on my reddened fingers, and again headed back downhill. This was not a wasted trip. Experience, you see, has taught me that feeding, watering, cleaning up after the horses is much easier when one’s hands are encased (as mine now were) in wool and nylon.
I fed the horses and checked the water in the wall buckets. I next went and got the scoop, and began moving the snow in the front area to the larger enclosure. My rationale was that this would both make it easier for me to get around, and better enable me to get at the day’s manure piles. It was as I was scooping that the perhaps necessary transformation occurred.
I was no longer a child, but instead an adult. An adult’s snow-related perspective can, like a child’s, be enviable. Adults often recreate in snow, mainly for skiing and snowmobiling. And they assist kids in recreating, mainly sledding and building snow forts and snow people. But more often than not, adults like me must engage in the time-honored activities of moving snow from one place to another. And this was exactly what I, who was now full grown, was doing.
Call it a life. I live in a place where it snows eight months of the year, and rains for four months of the year. I don’t move rain around. But that’s a story for another day.
I got the scoop and began pushing the snow.
Next: 47. 2/16/13: More on the Subject of Being an Adult