July 18, 2015 by Dadinator
Driving down the midland highway we were excited. I’m not sure if the kids knew what we were doing, but The Mamanator and I shared a few conspiratorial grins and glances with one another as we were internally jumping up and down for joy.
“Where’s the turnoff?”
“I think it’s coming up soon….”
“Here it is”
“Oh, can you see any yet?”
“Nope, but wait till we’re a bit further up….”
We wound our way up the road, twisting down up the narrow pathway. I was conscious of having to go off the sealed section should other cars be coming in the opposite direction.
Then we rounded a corner and saw one of the steeper slopes. Spread over the emerald-green of the grass was a gleaming dapple of pure white. Both The Mamanator and I felt our eyes open a little wider. The Mamanator pointed enthusiastically as she took in a sharp breath, and were I not steering the car, I would probably have started to flap my hands.
“SNOW!!!! SNOW SNOW! LOOK! LAD, LASS LOOK SNOW!”.
The Lad looked out the window with a kind vague disinterest, as he often does when trying to view the world out a car window that is still a smidgen too high for him to see out of. But, due vertical nature of a mountain, he could see a way up it this time and he realised what he was looking at, and it was exciting. The Lass, who is a good head shorter than her brother and was also on the wrong side of the car, simply smiled and looked around earnestly as she sensed her brother’s anticipation.
We wound up the road, squinting to see into the distance and make out what we could of the snow around us, until we pulled into the cover of the forest. Mt Franklin, our destination, is covered in an old pine forest. In some ways you can forget your are in Australia for a moment while you are up it. And on a day like Sunday, it was certainly possible.
Both our children were rugged up, and looked a bit like marshmallows with beanies on their head. The Lad had a kind of exuberant bewilderment about him as his feet crunched on the snow. I picked it up and put it in his hands, he felt the cold but didn’t really care that much. He threw his first snow ball, straight at the car, and soon it was joined by 4 other snow balls making a gathering on the side of our white station wagon.
We watched the peak of Mt Franklin steadily fill with cars as more and more people responded to a Facebook message that had gone out betraying the snow’s presence to all and sundry in the local area. before long there was snow man building and snowball fights taking place around us. Children made up games. Teenagers carried on showing off to one another. Toddlers looking like tiny pillows simply stared at the cold white stuff.
My own son unleashed his inner anarchist. He was obsessed with throwing snowballs at trees, and he did so over and over again. I’m not sure what it was, the feeling of sculpting a projectile, the shock of cold on his fingers or the satisfaction of having it explode into a shower of ice on impact that did it for him, but he loved it.
His sister, the little one, was not so sure of herself. Perhaps she was more sensitive to the cold, perhaps it was simply because she was little or perhaps it was just the mood she was in. She was more cautious, less willing to handle the cold stuff and she stuck closely to us the whole time, which we didn’t mind so much.
I attempted to direct my sons activity and attention a few times. I even started work on a snowman to try to impress my children, but they dutifully ignored me. Well THe Lad ignored me until he started to fall on it over and over again, first with his rear end and then falling front ways, until the foundation resembled a small, steep hillock rather than the ball shape I was going for.
I also had to watch his fingers. His interest in this substance overrode his central nervous system. He was impervious to the cold. Well he thought he was, his fingers still went pink and felt like icicles. So breaks were mandated, hands rubbed and dried in spite of his resistance.
Snow wasn’t about building, touching or feeling in a sense of wonderment for him. Snow was about throwing, crunching, running, falling, jumping, tasting and generally breaking up the perfect white sheen over the landscape as much as possible. It was also about ice skating because he was convinced that walking on snow and ice skating are exactly the same thing….
Then we had to go. The Lass was at the end of her tether, The Lad was clearly tired and we all needed lunch. He screamed. Another toddler answered with another scream from across the field, and for a moment I was tempted to join in. Nonetheless we left, lunch was had and all was well, in the end.
And we’ll never forget this first.
Firsts. Smiles. Rolls. Steps Words. Places. Books. Drawings. Towers.
No one told me about first snow. Thank goodness for that, the surprise was much nicer.
Oh, and don’t mess with my son. He throws a mean snowball. Just look at him…..