Thursday, January 27, 2011

The stuff that dreams are made of

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of snowstorms, and the magic, wonder, and excitement that surrounded them. Indeed, I can remember looking at leaden skies, and listening to KYW, hearing about storms and rumors of storms, in the otherworldly sibilance of the AM dial. How I desperately wanted not 2 to 4, 3 to 6, 4 to 8, but 6 to 10 inches of snow to transform the landscape into a world of white wonder, one in which a day off from school wasn't the thing of sleepy wishes, but a dream come true.

Some of those snow dreams stand out in memory; for example, I clearly recall the Blizzard of 1983. I was sick when it began, and was laying in bed, watching the snow whirl past my window, and listening to the wind howl through the trees in my backyard. I recovered in time to venture out into the drifts, build a snowfort, and defend my yard from all would-be invaders, who arrived looking like terrorists, wearing ski masks, and menacingly holding a snowball in their right hand.

A child playing in the snow after the Blizzard of 1978.

My recollection of other storms is a bit hazier, and something like trying to remember a dream after a long and deep sleep. Among those storms I include the legendary Blizzard of 1978. I was very young at the time, but I seem to recall looking out the window at drifts that were like waves on a dazzling white ocean.

I wonder if some day we will look back on the storms of 2010 and 2011 with the same sense of magic and mystery. I somehow doubt it, as the dreamworld of childhood has given way to the harsh realities of life. These days, I am as likely to curse the snow as I am to marvel at its wonder. But there is still something of the magic left, for I laugh when I see kids playing in the snow, and try to remember that for all its troubles, it's still the stuff that dreams are made of.

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