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Four Years at the Mount

Freshman year

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Lydia Olsen
Class of 2016

(12/2012) The best days are the ones when I have to put on layers. On these cold winter days, it is a procedure for me to leave the house because I have to put on a long sleeve shirt, a sweatshirt, a jacket, two pairs of pants that swish when I walk, three pairs of socks, fuzzy earmuffs, a scarf and winter gloves to stay warm. The bulk of the clothing slows me down but when I finally make it from my room to the front door and step outside, I am completely satisfied. The car windshields are covered with frost. The grass has iced over and crunches under my boots. I watch my breath disappear into the air along with the smoke from the chimneys. The greatest part of it all is the indescribable smell of the crisp, cold weather that turns my nose red. It is a smell beyond compare because it promises approaching snow. My favorite winter memory begins on one of these days. It was a day that I will always remember, a day when the falling of snow was inevitable.

Winter mornings seem to be more difficult than mornings during any other time of the year. Combining a winter morning with the darkness of Daylight Saving Time cries out as a recipe for disaster, at least for me. You see, itís not that I have trouble with the actual waking up part of the mornings. I have never been one who hits snooze or begs for five more minutes. For me, the hardest part of waking up on a winter morning is just getting out of bed. Being tucked in the warmth of the blankets is much more appealing than rolling over and having the frigid hardwood floor greet my bare feet. I would much rather just lie awake in bed and avoid beginning my day until the last possible minute.

This inward debate is exactly what was happening one day last December. When I finally got the nerve to pull off my covers and get ready for school, I was completely behind schedule. I rushed around chaotically as I got dressed for the winter weather. I exchanged I love youís with my mom as I stood hesitantly at my front door trying to muster up the courage to brave the cold outside. Ultimately, I had no choice but to run through the morning darkness to my car. Blasting the heat in that old Camry was pointless, but I banged my gloved hands helplessly on the dial anyway. Somehow it always seemed to kick in as soon as I got into the school parking lot, but thatís just my luck. When I ran into school on these cold winter days, I praised the warm air that hit my face as I passed through the maroon and gray doors.

The rumor of snow circulated quickly throughout the halls, like any other high school gossip did. Some of us got our hopes up more than others, but when the first flurries were spotted through the windows, we all became optimistic. By the time second period approached, it became clear that we would be having an early dismissal! Once this became known, it was nearly impossible for the teachers to calm us down or get us to pay attention. All 2,600 students waited in anticipation for our release. When the time came to leave, we all ran outside with excitement. We danced around in the parking lot as the flurries lingered in our hair and attached to our winter jackets. We embraced in our enthusiasm before we headed home.

When I arrived back at my house, my mom and I eagerly watched the snow as it accumulated quickly on the grass, and more importantly on the roads. My mom is a third grade teacher. She is great at what she does and is highly respected and admired among the community and her co-workers. But like children, we keenly awaited the cancellation of school. After all, who doesnít love a snow day?

When the word eventually came that evening that there would not be school the next day, my mom and I were overjoyed. Our cheers filled the house; however, the phone call did not come until almost midnight. It was late at night but we were both so wide awake with excitement that there was no way we could go to bed. My mom, being the adventurous type, asked me to go on a walk with her. I smiled and went to put on more layers.

Bundled up, we stepped outside into what felt like the arctic tundra. All around us the trees held snow where their leaves had once been. The grass had vanished and was replaced by a perfect blanket. Neighboring house lights allowed the snow to glisten. Everything was peaceful. All the commotion of daily life was suddenly silenced and it seemed as though time stood still. With our gloved fingers intertwined, we strolled through the streets. As we traveled, we left footprints in the snow that were quietly covered behind us. Mesmerized by the pureness around us, we breathed in our surroundings. The neighborhood was mysterious in the darkness of night but was captivating in the beauty it obtained once it was covered in a sheet of white. There is something magical about snow. Whether it is through coldness that it has the ability to bring people together, or whether it is something more, my mom and I bonded while we walked in a wonderland that night. Upon returning to our house, we decided to disrupt the flawless snow in our front yard. We agreed to make a snowman and took off our boots as we rushed inside to gather the necessities.

Meeting back in the snow, we quickly became aware that this was not going to be an average snowman, but we continued on anyway. We rolled our snowballs until they fit our satisfaction. We constructed the body of the snowman and then moved onto the accessories. Our snowman acquired a bucket hat, Oreo eyes, a paint stirrer nose, an M&M smile, rock buttons, oversized pencil arms, and a plaid scarf to complete his look. My mom and I looked at each other and smiled. We were completely pleased with our finished creation and we headed inside for the night. When we woke up on our snow day, we once again took a walk outside. We admired the snowman in our yard that literally appeared overnight. He was far from perfect or even ordinary, but he had character, thatís for sure!

With the heart of winter approaching, the smell of snow lingers longer in the air. Along with the smell comes the remembrance of my favorite memory involving an early dismissal, a winter walk, and an unforgettable snowman. As the weather gets colder every day, I find myself waiting impatiently for the flurries to begin to fall. In anticipation, I wait to hear my mom ask me that question that promises an adventure. Do you want to take a walk?

Read other articles by Lydia Olsen