A Sugar Snow and the Spirit of Winter

sugar snowToronto (and surrounding areas) just emerged from a snowstorm.  Inches on snowy white fell everywhere, blown about by gusty winds, which made daytime temperatures of -7 degrees celsius feel more like -17 (overnight temps felt like -30).  Usual mayhem ensued:  delayed flights, chaos on the roads, cancelled programs and plans.  Life had me on the roads to a suburb and back again in the thick of the storm, meaning I drove was in a car for two and a half hours to travel less than 70 miles.

But my boys and I are reading the Little House series and through all the snowy inconveniences, I kept thinking, maybe it’s a sugar snow.  In the Little House in the Big Woods and Sugar Snow, an early reader based on the original book, Pa explains to his girls that a sugar snow is a soft, thick snowfall late in the season that helps the maple trees make more sap for tapping and boiling into maple syrup.  I don’t know if our snowfall fell too early to constitute a sugar snow, but I hope it does.  It was nice to think of a larger picture, of natural consequences, of an elemental order to the snow that had nothing to do with the city gridlock while I was stuck in it.

Trying to get in the spirit, we’ve gotten ourselves ready to make maple candy atop the freshly fallen snow – I’m already looking forward to the taffy stage of the candy-making and praying my fillings stay in my teeth.  I also have plans to take our kids to a sugar bush maple festival – we’ve been to this one in the past and will be perusing this list for more ideas.  These trips are always a good time.

And then there was the hat-less man who knocked on my door soliciting something or other, while eating a giant freezie the colour of anti-freeze.  When I asked him how he could do so on such a frigid day, he bounded back with, “Oh, I’m a snowboarder and skier – I wait for this weather and I love it!”  It’s true that it’s probably easier for the young, strapping fellow who probably never gets cold to embrace the winter, but I’m going to try to channel him anyway.  It is pretty outside, I do enjoy the miracle of central heating, the snows really will be gone soon, and maybe the maple farms will have a good year.