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Four Years at the Mount

Sophomore year

Magic is in the air

Kyle Ott
MSM Class of 2015

(12/2012) I donít know what it is about snow, but no matter how old you get there is something absolutely magical about the flurries of white powder that fall from the sky when the temperature drops below a balmy 32 degrees. Perhaps itís the fact that as children, we would look at the world outside on Christmas and see the snow and as we watched it fall, our innocent minds forever fused the magic of Christmas with the soft snow in the sky. Or maybe it was the fact that snow had the power to get us off school or work. Whole days could be spent in our pajamas because the weather had decided to slow our world of steady progress to a grinding halt. It gave us an easy excuse to spend time with our friends and family, to shirk the cultural guilt associated with doing nothing and just "being" for a change.

Or maybe, just maybe itís the simple idea that snow can change everything. Think about it. The avenues we travel every day, the old buildings that we pass by every morning, even something as familiar as our backyard can be utterly altered by the falling snow. Itís the one natural event that doesnít just affect our world around us, but our perceptions of that world. The way that snow clings to the trees, illuminating an entire forest in a cool clean whiteness, the simple freshness of the air after snowfall, these things as well as many others create a veritable wonderland that has fascinated and enamored us for generations.

Last year, on Halloween Weekend I woke to find that my entire world at Mount St Maryís University had been covered in a gentle but constant dusting of snow. It clung to the eaves of buildings, squatted in gutters, lined the roads in large heaps and made the rolling ground of our campus into a beautiful almost flat land. I woke to my roommate pulling on his leather shoes, a T-Shirt and shorts and exclaiming, "Weíre going sledding!" as he tossed me a tray from Patriot dining hall that had somehow found its way into our room. I should have known then that it was going to be a wild day. Without bothering to change out of my PJís, I threw my sneakers on as fast as my hands would allow and sprinted down the stairs with my roommate to the small hill outside of Pangborn Hall. We climbed up, using what had been a staircase before the snowfall and jumped onto our trays, hoping to slide gracefully down to the bottom. We got the sliding part right; we tumbled from our makeshift sleds almost as quickly as we had climbed on, rolling to the bottom of the hill. At the bottom, we discovered our bodies were covered in cold, wet snow.

Having both overestimated the ability of our makeshift vehicles and the ability of shorts and thin PJís to keep the cold out, we sprinted into the hall hoping to find warmth. We immediately ran to the girlsí hall in the hopes that some kind hearts would spare some hot cocoa. We limped in looking bedraggled and freezing and our friends gave us an amazing greeting. As we lay underneath the radiator, they brought out cocoa and mugs, a large fleece blanket and a laptop complete with a movie. My friend and I laid our trays in the middle of the hall and allowed our friends to pamper us into a state of luxury. We had a blanket, food, and a movie full of chase scenes and explosions; nothing could have roused us from our reverie.

Nothing that is, except for the ringing of my cell phone. I answered unsure of who would be calling me on such a strange snowy day and a little frustrated that my impromptu relaxing session would be interrupted. "Hello?" my voice sounded so strange after the sound of the special effects and the loud slurping of warm drink. "Hi Kyle!" My aunt Kathy was calling from her minivan, which at that very moment was on its way to my residence hall. My mind recalled a conversation over Facebook a few weeks prior. My aunt had been asking about bringing my three cousins, Shannon, Anna and Justin to visit the campus and most importantly, visit me. "Weíre almost there!" she exclaimed. I looked at my still moist clothing, my tasseled hair and the fact that I was laying on the floor of the girls hall under a fleece blanket clutching a steaming coffee mug for dear life. "Awesome," I said, trying to cover up the fact that I would be playing the situation with all my improvisational skill. "I will see you soon!" With that, I left my friends behind and flew up to my room to hastily prepare for my aunt and three little cousins.

Well, my aunt arrived without incident and found her oldest nephew put together and dressed by the time she arrived. After a brief tour of the campus with my family in tow, my aunt revealed that she was taking me out to dinner, which for a young starving college kid is incredibly exciting. As we made our way from my room to the parking lot, I picked up a clump of snow and lobbed it playfully at Shannon, the oldest of my three cousins. This caused the others to laugh and pick up clumps of snow and begin throwing them at my face. What ensued was a full-on snowball fight between my three cousins and me. We ducked behind cars, leaped over snow banks and slid through slush in an epic impromptu battle to the finish.

To this day I cannot think about snow without thinking about the way the day when my world was turned from a snow-covered school into a white wonderland. Hopefully your December is full of snow and adventures. Iím Kyle Ott, wonít you sit and read for a while?

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