One of us lives on the east coast. One of us lives on the west.

One of us lives in a rural community. One of us lives in a city.

Both of us wander. Both of us witness. Both of us write.

This is a record of what we find.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Snow Rollers

While winter plants its big boots firmly in the ground—the snow-covered ground, of course—fists punching the sky in a gesture of victory, I feel the humbling need to accept March for what it is, to not fight it. The landscape that holds us, and the weather that descends upon us…they are awesome creatures. Often we can’t fight them, as Japan has forced us to remember. And so this week, I am going to find something in the landscape and the weather to be amazed by.

I am not so amazed by the numbing cold anymore. I am not amazed by the number of snowstorms that can fall in a week, or the number of days in a row school can be canceled, or the number of tissues my daughter can use on her runny nose.

Here is what I am amazed by—

Snow Rollers.

Thank you to my friend, Lisa, for pointing them out to me. I have lived in Vermont for a long time and I had never heard of them. Think sleeping bag made out of snow. Or a winter cinnamon roll. Or cold-weather tumbleweeds. Aren’t they cool?

They are created when a group of weather and landscape conditions converge in just the right way. There needs to be an open field, a slight slope, freshly fallen-slightly sticky snow and some wind. If these ingredients are all present, then the wind will grab up a slab of the snow, and then as the slab rolls down the hill it picks up more snow and rolls up on itself, between the wind and the ground.

I haven’t seen one in person, but I imagine it is just the kind of thing that a group of kids would stand in awe of for a minute or two…and then make a mad dash toward to play on for hours and hours. It reminds me of one of my favorite picture books of all time: This Place in the Snow by Rebecca Bond.

As Rebecca says: This place, full of grace, in the snow.

My thoughts and hopes are with Japan.

Tam Smith

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