Almost Forgot...

The local folk tell us that this part of Montana is enjoying the most snow and the coldest temperatures that have been seen around here for 20 years. That is a source of some amusement to the ones who think that Arizona transplants like us are going to be crying for our mommas over the weather. Ha!

Beside the fact that not all of Arizona is like Phoenix (hello! Pine trees! Skiing! And a white Christmas in our old home town.) the doubters don't know that I grew up in the Rockies.

HIGH up...way high....in the Rockies. The nearest wide spot in the road (we called it a town) stands at an elevation just over 9100 feet. Our house was a little higher. Yeah. We got snow and we got cold.

Being here in this remarkable winter has reminded me of things I almost forgot.

The way the snow crunch-squeaks differently under your feet when the temperature is really cold.

Snow so cold and dry that you can't make a snowball of it. When you shovel it, it's like a shovel full of visible air.

The way that icicles on the eaves will gradually point toward the house as the snow inches down the roof.

Never wanting to be barefoot, even indoors.

The still, quiet air that tells you it snowed again, even before you look outside.

How differently sounds and smells carry when it is snowing.

The way the warmth of your home feels when you walk in the front door, after being out in the cold weather.

The way it feels to step a stockinged foot in a puddle of melted snow on the floor. Darn!!

Snow crystals on the dog's whiskers...and the way snow packs in between their doggie toes.

On the nights that my Ohio grandma was going to be home alone, one or more of her grandchildren was usually expected to "Grandma-sit". She lived just up the hill on the same driveway as we did. When my uncle got home and I would walk back to our house on a dark, snowing night, there was a pristine beauty to the night that defies description. The world seemed to be holding its breath in wonder, the way a mother looks at her sleeping baby. I would walk as quietly as possible, so to not disturb the fragile scene, and to absorb every molecule of the moment that I could. Then, of course, I would walk in the front door, stamp my feet like a buffalo and destroy the quiet.