Spring Snow Angels

Snow angel
There was good reason for pause the other day when a mid-morning snow-squall suddenly whitened our countryside.

It was worthy of the stop, besides the fact that a momentary white-out made it safest to pull my truck into a central Wisconsin driveway.

The white-out was brief, and it became safe to again get back onto the gravel road and make my next appointment.

I backed out of the driveway to be on my way. But once back on the road, I again brought the truck to a halt.

The sight was too good to ignore.

What started as the squall settled into a snow-globe shake of the countryside: large flakes’ fingers extended to reach toward other flakes to join in their slow waltzes to the sod and gravel embracing me from all sides.

The scene brought a smile to my face, me knowing many of my favorite curmudgeon-friends would be complaining about the soil being covered in snow’s bright whiteness in April, which isn’t their idea of spring.

I silently practiced my response that the weather is going to do what the weather is going to do – and that, we can’t change the weather no matter how much we might complain about it.

“I don’t like much that it snowed in April, either,” I’d tell those curmudgeon-friends. “But the way I see it, we have the choice of whining about it or making snow angels. I always choose making snow angels.”

My cheerleading would be ignored by the most dedicated of the curmudgeon-friends, I knew. There’s no changing the minds of folks who can’t find the good in what the countryside offers, even when it’s a spring snow; those same curmudgeon-friends would have been complaining that it’s too hot and the mosquitoes too thick if the temperature instead was 80 degrees.

There was another moment when I considered whether the old farmers were becoming upset because of the unseasonably cold weather and that morning’s snow.

Somewhere, I knew, someone was changing a tractor’s oil in a machine-shed shop. Someone wearing coveralls not far from me was greasing a disc harrow or corn planter in anticipation of working warmed soil.

And somewhere near was an old person of the soil who joined my appreciation for that spring snow – them the makers of snow-angels at heart, if not literally.

It’s the snow-angel makers who first appreciate that snow-globe waltzing of the snowflakes, even when the spring sun is starting to reach high into the sky. Those are the people who understand the help the reaching fingers of large, spring snowflakes give soothing massages to the waking spring soil.

The snow-angel makers listened to the old-timers who said the gentle melting of a spring snow massages its nourishment into the still-cold soil.

Cold spring showers are nice, a snow-angel-making old-timer told me, but that moisture too quickly sleds across the land and into Timber Creek and the Yellow River and the Trempealeau River and the Black River.

Spring snow invites the soil into a close slow-dance that has the soil inhaling the melting moisture into its depths.

Something inside of me spurred an urge to jump out of the truck and flop onto the snow in one of the fields along the road. My snow-angel being wanted to join in the massaging and dancing going on in the field.

It seems people look strangely upon old guys who remain farm kids at-heart. And the pace of our days’ lives doesn’t necessarily allow the time for such things.

Instead, I remained within my truck and pulled it into gear to move down the newly whitened road.

I drove along my way hoping someone out there really had the patience and time to make a snow angel, just as the spring snow was being patient and spreading needed moisture into the soil.

— Scott Schultz

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