OK, now let it stop.
Let me get the negative out of the way first. My full time job is working for the state at a facility that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 42 weeks a year. If I call in unable to go to work for any reason, somebody else has to put in a shift they weren't scheduled for. I hate not going in for work because it puts someone else out. I hate that even more than I hate not feeling free to call in to take off from work. I went back to work early after my dad passed away. I even went in to work a couple months ago when I was so sick that I spent part of my shift throwing up in the trashcan. With that said, I called in to work last week. The road we live on flooded downhill from us and, with the water, sleet, and snow, it was just too risky to try to drive through it. The road uphill is steep and is dangerous when ice or snow make it slick.
Now for the positive. I LOVE snow. I love to ski in it. I love to hike in it. I love to hunt in it. I even love to camp in it. Yes, I know I'm a sick, twisted oddball but, as long as I have a warm place to get out of it and don't have to drive very far in it, I don't even mind getting out in it and getting cold.
Schools were called off last week so wife and youngest son were home too. Son went out playing in it by himself so wife, dogs, and I went for a walk down the road. Of course, I took my camera.
Wife and I had a great time watching the dogs catch mice in the snow. Sometimes they would run and leap into a drift, sending snow flying in a flurry of whiteness. Other times they would dive into a drift, disappear for a moment, then pop up somewhere else, looking around with chunks of snow perched on their heads.
Cold weather offered us an opportunity to see things that residents of our area don't get to see very often. In a couple places we saw where water had frozen in a layer attached to a weed or tree. Then, when the water level dropped, chunks of ice would be left hanging in the air, a little layer of gravity-defying translucence. In one place the ice must have fast-frozen so that, as the water rose or fell, it formed multiple layers. I counted seven levels. In a couple places, it looked like the water level had fallen so fast that the hanging ice was only a fraction of a centimeter thick, looking like lace.
Other times I've been out in the cold, I've seen things that are true wonders of nature. The day I went back to work, there was lots of fog. Fog and extreme cold set the stage for a truly beautiful phenomenon to occur. Hoarfrost. We're all familiar with the layer of frost that forms on our car windshield often throughout the winter, but hoarfrost forms on trees, weeds, grass, fences, and pretty much everything else, but it does so by forming masses of thin crystals. From a distance it can look like everything has been wrapped in cotton but, from closer, it looks like everything has grown a layer of fine, brilliantly-white hair. The early morning sun shining through hoarfrost almost makes it look like tiny, explosions of white light glowing all over the landscape.
A couple times I've found frost flowers. Frost flowers are little curls of ice formed when the sap is rising in certain weeds or saplings. A hard freeze causes the bark of the plant to split for a couple inches up the sides of the plant near soil level. The sap continues to squeeze out through the splits, freezing as it does, forming spiraling curls.
I was lucky enough to be selected to go to Cold Weather Survival Instructor School when I was in the Marine Corps. One morning I boiled some water in my canteen cup to make some coffee. Realizing I hadn't gotten out my C-ration instant coffee out, I fumbled one handed in my Alice Pack, quickly finding the instant. When I looked down at the cup I was holding in my hand, I was surprised to watch ice crystals spreading across the water that had been boiling only seconds before.
I love the snow and the cold. I only regret that my work keeps me from spending more time in it. Maybe, in a few years, I'll be able to retire and spend more time out. With my luck though, I'll probably slip and break a hip. Maybe I won't like it so much then. I guess at least then I'd be more normal.