It was a vanilla sundae kind of a day.
It snowed that Sunday; I swam the day before, and I don’t like to do the same exercise for consecutive days, so I settled for a podcast plod on our cardio room treadmil
But a glance out the window didn’t show the foreboding winter’s blast I expected. It was the gentlest snowfall, the kind you see in a shaken snow globe; tumbling vanilla flakes floated onto creamy streets. Real, beautiful life was outside. It pulled my eyes, my heart, right out through the window.
As I enter my octo-decade, I see each day with new-eyes. Each day, no matter the weather, is to be cherished. I have a sister who refers to me as “Mr sunshine” because no matter the issue she presents to me, I invariably see the upside.
So I went out and ate this dessert—two full scoops.
The crisp air and the white–limbed trees enhanced the “trolley” bus that trundled along Long Beach streets. It made me think, no matter the century, 21st, 20th, 19th, or beyond—a blanket of white held the same delight. If just for precious new-eyes moments, politics and pandemics fade under drifts of white bliss.
Porters of high rises cleared and salted even as the snow still fell. Potted plants hibernated like plump strawberries awaiting spring.
The boardwalk was still but for the crunch of snow beneath my boots.
I love the crunch. We used to call it “good packing” snow, great for snowballs. The crunch took me to a snowy day on my way home from school. To my teen ears, the crunch became a marching beat of troops, a cadence I suspect had no small influence on my joining the Corps. Each step, a syllable to the Marine Corps Hymn, the “Halls of Montezuma.” I was always a patriot at heart.
But this day I was an even younger born-again-boy than those school years. This day I was a lad crunching atop an ice cream sundae. I had my new eyes engaged. And I was with my brethren—we eternal newborns—who see life with new eyes every day—seeing the wonder of life in all that is.
A couple near the ramp’s rail looked across the virgin blanket to a snowman near the surf. The wind picked up and whipped past this couple with barely a notice.
When they turned, I saw this red-faced pair—so young, with so much life ahead—had built a tiny snowman right on the railing.
I trekked the frosting to the whipped cream sea that framed the timeless sentry. He seemed to be calling, “Remember me?
Many people will stroll the surf: spring, summer or fall. And those days do hold special wonder. But in a winter storm, only eternal newborns will leave the TV for the sea.
As this woman passed, we spoke not a word, this lover of life and I, but I suspect she was as enraptured as I. We were alone—together— in our bliss.
The innocents soared this snow-blown day…
…and hovered, as if on the wing of spring
A live “snowman”, well-armed for the day…
…scanned the frothy sea.
Teens dared the surf to catch their feet; two lost the dare. But howls of laughter carried from all three.
A cartwheeler made a grand entrance this sundae afternoon. Remember when you could do cartwheels in the snow? Remember when you could do cartwheels?
The wheelist landed amidst her family…
…where a snowman was born.
Some far off snowy day, when the world’s worries weigh upon some in this group, a walk in the snow might bring the sound of crunching walnuts. And maybe a memory of a sundae beach. A day of family—and cartwheels—and a snowman—and perhaps even—a man with a camera.
As I headed home, I passed the timeless sentry, beckoning once again for me to look back.
Remember igloos? Remember forts and snowball battles? Remember climbing the snow hills, the Himalayas built by city plows? Or belly whopping sleds on snow-packed streets or fun-packed hills?
Remember frosted hats, hoods, and hair; going home to aromas of hot cocoa and a grill cheese sandwich? The smell of wet leather gloves on a hissing radiator? Remember the family? Yes, the family. Remember the love?