Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Wintry Play

More of a snowlady than a snowman...
Yesterday I shoveled slush, salted walkways, walked in the snow, made a snowman -- the first I've made in years, as I recall; the last being one I created ages ago for James on Valentine's Day.... 

When I initially went outside, making a snowman wasn't my intention; I was really only planning to create a path across the yard for the mailman so he wouldn't have to go back out to the icy street between houses in order to deliver my mail.

Shoveling the path is what I usually do (and sounds easier than it is), but since yesterday's snow was wet and sticky I couldn't help myself. The stuff was perfect! It was a sin to waste a snowman-making opportunity. And as I rolled the heavy snow along the pathway I recalled wintry days from my childhood, little Me desperately working with my wet woolen mittens to pack snow into a ball when it wouldn't stick together.

What began as play soured quickly. Moments earlier my across-the-street neighbor (a contractor) jogged past with his clipboard on the way to another neighbor's remodel project, and he'd already given me good-natured (I hope) grief:
"Playing? Really?? Some of us gotta WORK!"
I know he was teasing, but my ears heard the words like parental scolding and it bothered me that I just couldn't ignore them....

After he'd gone, the street became quiet once more and I quickly finished my task. It was just me in the snow again, my world all cotton wool-ish and insulated. It made me think of the recent snowfall just days before. James and I were outside clearing the driveway (thinking that we could expect much more snowfall and wanting to get ahead of the game), and the entire neighborhood was doing the same thing, burning through the pathetic amount of accumulation with their screaming snow blowers...

(Let me just say that I dislike snowblowers. I wish they hadn't been invented.Yes, I get that they're a godsend and all that. And it's not like I haven't been envious on those days when Mother Nature sees fit to bury me in an avalanche too big for me to dig myself out of....)

...and I couldn't help but notice my neighbor down the way, blowing out his driveway while his teenaged sons stood around talking to their friends. How different would it have been if they'd all shoveled together? Would they have conversed or joked like James and I do? Would they have noticed the birdsong or the sound of snowflakes falling or the rhythm of their shovels? There was an opportunity for something and it wasn't being taken! (It's like doing the dishes together; how many opportunities for conversation/problem-solving/bonding have been lost by the invention of the dishwasher?)

Love the winky face! :)
Anyway, I finished up my snowman quickly, not bothering to round out his edges or brush off the accumulation of grassblades and rabbit droppings. I picked dried hydrangea blossoms and poked them into his head for hair. A row of dotted Echinacea pods became his mouth; two more, his eyes. Milkweed stalks were his widespread arms. A row of withered daisy blossoms were his buttons. When he was finished, he looked more like an old snowlady in curlers than a snowman.

As the day melted on, he listed drunkenly to one side, still with the loopy smile. And when James saw him later that night, he suggested we scatter a couple cider bottles in the snow at his feet for the fun of it.

But today I went back out and straightened him up. I replaced a button and coiffed his hydrangea 'do. And now I'm considering making him a sign to hold:
"Make Time For Play. It's as Important as Work."


  1. Yes-Yes-YES!! My friend, your words are magick, your insights deep, and your reflections so VERY valuable! In this ultra-busy world of people pursuing THINGS, relationships and meaningful communication seem to be spinning into extinction. People talk AT one another instead of WITH... And without play, humans become pinched and nasty and just plain unhappy. Keep the faith at Tumbledown! denic

    1. (It always surprises me to see comments here; they're so few and far between!) The biggest of thankyous for your kind words, as always. And I couldn't agree more with your thoughts about communication, Denise!

      It never fails to amuse and sadden me to be out in public and see groups of young people, obviously together yet all individually on their smartphones.... I look around at the coffee shop and see couples seated at the same table, each on his/her phone. I see moms turning their kids loose at the play park and then surfing their phones instead of watching the kids play (or joining them).... James and I even sat at an intersection recently and saw a young woman drive straight through a red light -- with toddlers in their car seats in the back! -- while she read her phone. It still gives me nightmares....

      And in those instances where I see people actually talking, they are rarely engaged in the conversation (there are always those distracting phones present, sadly), and they almost never make eye contact. Breaks my heart!

      So much information, and so little communication!....

      Years ago I saw the movie 'The Blair Witch Project' and I was disappointed. James was too. We tried to figure out what it was about it that completely freaked out anyone under our age group, and James joked, "The young people in the movie were out in the woods for days with no cell phones. The thought alone would put that age group in a coma!" And although I laughed, I pondered that a good long time....

  2. The direction we're headed as a society is not very pretty, is it? I don't have a cell phone (I'm probably one of the few people under the age of 55 who doesn't!), but I'm no different with a computer at my fingertips. It's so engrossing that the world completely goes away, even to the point that I don't greet my husband when he comes home from a long day at work.

    For all the leaps and bounds we've made with technology, we are sadly going the opposite direction in our interpersonal relationships.

    You are a wise woman, Delayne. Keep telling it like it is!

  3. Laurel's so right! She's also not alone when it comes to the cell phone--I HAD to get one when job-hunting to ensure I didn't miss interview calls. I have since let the contract lapse (TracFone) rather than pay for something I almost never used. I enjoy communicating via email and FB simply because so many of my friends live too far away and long distance gets costly. Not to mention that after spending most of the day answering calls at work, I don't feel like sitting with a phone to my ear all evening as well--for some reason, sitting at a keyboard doesn't affect me that way, probably because I'm mesmerized at watching words appear on the screen... (Yes, Delayne, I SHOULD be writing in a different formant!)

    Happily for me, since moving back to my hometown I've reconnected with a group of high school friends, all strong, smart women who have survived incredible losses and tribulations. We only get together once a month but there is REAL communication during those gatherings, and we all are secure in knowing that everyone in the group is there to share and nurture and help whomever is going through some sort of difficulty. I've had dear, treasured friends everywhere I've lived but had never experienced a group like this before. It saddens me terribly that there are generations of people these days who may never experience it for themselves...denic

  4. I had to get a cell phone, too, back in the day when my vehicle was so old and unreliable that to leave home without a means of calling a road service was out of the question. It was a pay-as-you-go thingie (and a burden!) and I rarely even remembered to turn the thing on.... Then I began taking more credit cards at art shows and needed an easier way to do so, so I agreed to a smartphone. Granted, the thing's been golden in an emergency (provided it was charged and on me at the time!), and I appreciate the ability to take a quick pic or record a note. But in my head I see it as just another tether. I don't like being so get-to-able 24/7.....