Sunday, December 26, 2010

Where does the white go when the snow melts?

This picture was taken my by talented daughter Kelley. It's a shot of our backyard.

I've seen snow in various amounts at different locations in my life. Unlike the common saying that Eskimos have something like 5,627 different words for snow, I just have the one--and it's a four letter word.

Actually, that isn't fair. I have a love / hate relationship with snow. In Utah, there were days I would wake up, get ready for work or school, and then leave the house just to find my car buried under several feet of snow. Heck, I even kept a shovel in my trunk. In addition, I'd put big, heavy bags of rock salt in the trunk as well, not only to help weigh down the back of the rear-wheeled drive vehicle, but also to use as a melting agent if I got really stuck.

Even earlier in my life, we had a paper route. The Sunday edition was done first thing in the morning. On would go the heavy coat, mittens, two pairs of pants and those awesome moonboots we had back in the 80's. (Actually, I sort of miss my moonboots) I'd walk from house to house, trudging my way through snow, trying to keep the papers dry and myself warm.

Of course, this would be a good time to mention how I had to walk to school in the snow, uphill (both ways), wearing cardboard shoes, with wolves at my heels and only a "brick" of Shredded Wheat for breakfast--but it wouldn't be true. I didn't have cardboard shoes--I had my awesome moonboots.

In all my years of school in Utah, I only recall school being closed down early once. It was the day before Christmas break, and it had been snowing for several days. There was something like 5 feet of snow, and it was still coming down--hard. They let us walk home early from school that day--though it was uphill with wolves on our heels.

The most snow I've ever seen was a trip we took as scouts to Yellowstone. They said they had like 12 feet of snow or something like that. The only way to get around was on snowmobiles. That was pretty sweet.

And then came my time in Connecticut. This is where the hate part comes in. OK, maybe hate is too strong a word--how about: "an incredibly intense dislike" for snow. Why? Because working at a TV station meant never ending snow coverage. Forget any plans you had with your family--snow meant long hours at work, telling people over and over again: "It's snowing!"

Now that I've moved to North Carolina, snow is back to something of a wonder. Overnight, we got about 6 inches of snow. They say it is the first white Christmas time in the Raleigh area in 60 years. To put into perspective how much 6 inches of snow is for this part of the country, I came up with a formula: You take the number of inches of snow, multiply it by 5, and replace the word "inches" with "feet."

Finally, there is the questions of "where does the white go when the snow melts?" I've asked this question many times to many people. I've gotten all sorts of answers--some very scientific in nature. My favorite response by far was, "It goes into the ground and turns green."

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