Thursday 20 February 2014


I used to love this time of year. Well, maybe a few weeks from now when spring is just beginning to be sprung, but it’s close enough.
I would love walking to school in the morning after the melt from the day before froze over creating mini ponds of ice that we could slide on. I’d take a run and launch myself across the pond, hoping to make it all the way across, but not too fast. Too fast meant that you would come to an abrupt stop as soon as your boots hit the pavement and possibly flip over. Too slow and you would be tempted to run on the ice and of course land on your ass. Sometimes the guys I walked to school with and I would see who could slide the farthest. No one kept score.
Some of the puddles would have ice over air for some reason and it was just like breaking glass when you walked on it. Without the fear of getting caught breaking glass of course. That was how our road hockey games would always end, with Mr. Findlay running out the door to see whose parents would pay for a new window. Lucky for me I was never good enough to shoot the ball all the way to Findlay’s window.
Often there were icicles hanging from every branch, fence and eavestroughs all the way to school. Sometimes they were only good enough to suck and if you had a vivid imagination, you could pretend they were popsicles. I always had grape. Often you would get an icicle that tasted an awful lot like car exhaust. When we were especially lucky, the icicles would be large enough for sword fights. Of course the fights would only last for one strike, but that didn’t deter us at all, we were pirates!  

When I was by myself, I would stop and look closely at the snow at the side of the road and the sheets of lace like ice that covered them. They were very delicate windows looking out at the world. I never did find out who it was that watched me from behind those windows, but I suspect they thought I was pretty funny looking. Years later, I read a book that told of how mice would have snow tunnels just under the surface that they would use as little mouse highways, out of the wind and cold.
I still think how wonderful it would be to travel along those miceways. I suppose that every now and then you would have to venture into the snow and cold where some clumsy, large person had placed his foot. It wouldn’t be much of an inconvenience, just enough for you to be thankful to the builders of the miceway.

I imagine that there would be larger rooms or way stations every now and then that had seeds and nuts to nourish travellers. Perhaps there would be some straw for sleeping, kind of like a mouse Holiday Inn. The better rooms would have large windows made of ice and every now and then, especially in the morning, there would be a very large, very funny looking being looking in at you.

Yes, this is a magical time of year…

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