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December 3, 2011

Some childhood musings in a winter wonderland still ring true


Daily Star

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Do children today get as eager as we did years ago as we anticipated the first snowfall?

Excitement always mounted as we planned outdoor adventures after the early storm left the blanket of clean, white snow, even if it was just a dusting.

We enjoyed the outdoors. Of course, back in those days there was no television with all the technological gadgets that encourage the youths just to sit and push buttons while neglecting the fresh outdoor air.

It was always so nice to see that clean, white blanket cover the dismal terrain that was now void of our beautiful autumn orange and gold leaves. Fall is always a sight to behold in our beautiful area, but it always seems so short-lived.

With our young noses pressed against the window pane, we would watch the little fluffy flakes glide gently past the window. Down they would float to cover the dreary landscape of dry and brown foliage left from the cold winter breezes. All is layered with a white, clean pristine blanket: Just as the Bible describes snow "like wool" at Psalms 147:16 and just imagine, there are "storehouses" of it up there. (Job 38:22)

All seems quiet and peaceful as we behold the picture perfect created by our "Master Painter." How did he know how we youngsters would simply love to have playtime in the snow?

I can remember how my brother and I could hardly wait for the storm to abate and the parental OK to be given to head to the closet where our winter snowsuits and boots were stored.

Under the basement stairway was the closet with all the miscellaneous winter apparel: Snowsuits were hung up, leggings folded on the shelf, scarves, hats, mittens and gloves were piled on top of the boot box. Being close to the furnace room the closet was always quite warm and since most modern moth retardants and synthetic materials were still in the future, we had many a moth hole here and there in the woolen fabric. What matched what was never important as we just got something to fit, holes and all, and out we would go.

The snow always seemed so much deeper than as today. Perhaps it was because we were a lot smaller. Did we really have more snow "back when"? It's hard to remember, since the shoveling and plowing of today is such a chore in our old age.

The first adventure for us kids was usually making snow angels in the new, untouched snowy layer. We would carefully lie down on our backs with arms outstretched as we slowly moved them up and down to form simulated wings. Legs went out and in to form the angel's flowing skirt.

As I would laze in the new fallen snow, insulated snugly in my snowsuit, I used to look up into the blue sky as the cottony clouds drifted by and muse: Are there really angels up there? Are they watching us?

Angels were a topic that always interested me throughout my lifetime, and they still do.

Then and there, I wanted to learn more. The opportunity presented itself later in life with an exhaustive Bible concordance to direct me to all the Scriptures explaining some of my many questions of where they are, what doing, and how they affect us.

"What does an angel look like?" was one of my childhood quizzical musings as we made our snowy imprints. Artistic liberties pictured them in all sorts of ways: From chubby fat babies with wings to women flying with long flowing hair, not to mention the bows and arrows depicted on many a romantic greeting card.

I had to giggle at those imaginings for, if research was done, the artist would correctly depict a human form that would be able to communicate with us and not scare us to the point of dismissing the purpose of an invisible (to human eye) spirit person materializing.

Playing in the snow had its advantages with healthy fresh air and lots of exercise. We needed, that especially after the many hours of sitting in a school room. I believe it's the same today.

Elaine W. Kniskern is a 78-year-old resident of Schenevus and a grandmother of five. She can reached at elaine-kniskern@stny.rr.com. 'Senior Scene' columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/seniorscene.