12-10-2017 Magic Moment:
I have a (what some people might think is a bit crazy) tradition of going (ever so briefly) barefoot in the snow. When the mood strikes me, usually only once a season and usually early on in the season before the ground is frozen solid. When there is the right amount of snow; more than a dusting but not more that a few inches deep, I like to plant my bare feet into the freezing fluffy white stuff. Sometimes I run around the yard, or sometimes just stand still until the aching cold becomes too painful to endure. I then run back inside and warm my feet up by the fire
I think this tradition originated in college. I was a little Florida girl going to school in the mountains of West Virginia. On the first snow fall of the first winter, I woke in my dorm room at dawn, through the window saw the fresh snow on the ground, excitedly jumped out of bed and ran outside into the commons wearing nothing but my night gown. I ran through the grass in my bare feet joyfully shouting “It’s Snowing!”. Groggy angry yells from other dorm rooms of “Shut up!” greeted my jubilation. I ran to the neighboring dorm to tell my best friend. She, having grown up in a suburb of DC was less than enthusiastic when I cam bustling into her room full of exuberance over the snow. Her reply was had words like messy, sloppy, slippery, cold, wet, and go back to sleep in it. Undaunted, I ran back outside and frolicked, quietly this time, in the snow until my brain finally realized that snow was indeed, wet, cold, and slippery. My bare feet were numb and walking was difficult up the stairs back to my room where I took a long hot shower to thaw out.
This morning, the mood struck, and I stepped out onto the snow dusted porch in my bare feet. They screamed at the cold abuse. Knowing I would not be satisfied with just the snow on the porch I walk down the stair to the yard. Standing there, the burning cold penetrating the very core of my feet, gazing up into the low grey sky, snow flakes landing on my face, I could smell the living smell of cold wet earth, the smell of earthy cold wet snow falling onto dead leaves, and bare branches. Birds are chattering in the trees along the road, the creek is burbling down the hill, and a snow plow is rumbling in the distance. The intense coldness numbing my feet brought on a memory so strong, it felt like it was actually happening. I was standing on the put in ramp for the first rafting trip of the season, knee deep in snow, neoprene covered feet already frozen numb before we even get to the water, early spring rapids roaring in the distance through the still leafless forest. I breath deeply, wet cold air energizing my lungs and snap back to here and now. Got to get these frigid tootsies back inside!