Ah gravity. What would we do without it? Fly through the sky, right?
Also we’d go sailing into space and our inevitable deaths. Of course there are other things that would happen if the law of gravity no longer applied to our universe, and each would result in our rather immediate demise. But I digress…
Gravity is also the reason why snow falls and accumulates on the ground. And it’s what make our toboggans pick up speed while sliding down that snowy hill. Little winter fun would be had without gravity.
When you think of a snow day, do you visualize the days long past of your childhood?
I always think back to going down hills that seemed huge (but likely weren’t), picking up speed that would careen you out of control, and leave you in a smashed heap at the bottom of the hill. You’d come to a sudden halt either from smashing into some other hapless soul wandering around dragging their sled behind them, or from some kind of feature that was meant to provide protection—hay bail, fence, railing—but all caused more damage and pain than the risk of actually careening out into the traffic.
I recall one day when I was 8 years old, going sledding in the fresh snow at the local ravine. No matter what kind of toboggan or sled your parents would bring home for you, you could never actually stop or steer it with any kind of precision. At best, you could lean over and spill out into the soft snow. Hopefully before smashing uncontrollably into an immovable, and hence hard, object.
I went down this hill in my shiny, new, red sled and as I picked up speed I realized just how useless the little hand breaks were. All they managed to do was to kick up snow into my face, blinding me, but not affecting any change in my acceleration. They were like break placebos—the sugar pills of the breaking world. You’d pull and yank on them helplessly and then BAM. Laying there in confusion and pain, I couldn’t feel my legs. I was sure this was how my life would end. At 8 years old, in a heap at the bottom of a hill, tangled around a tree with my new sled smashed into a million pieces.
And if perchance my parents did rescue me from my misery, they would kill me for having broken my new sled.
But now I live in Victoria, where there’s little chance to go sledding because it rarely snows in the winter. Winters here are normally rainy and warm, and full of flowers. It’s like spring everywhere else in Canada. But every once in a while we’ll get an dump of snow that’s as ephemeral as a Eurasian bird that’s been blown off course and landed on our shores.
But I am young at heart. Or perhaps that’s a nice way to say I’m immature. But after doing my responsible homeowner duty of shovelling our driveway, and the responsible mom duty of yelling at my kids to dress warmly, we pulled our sleds and crazy carpets out of storage so we can go sledding at the hill by the local school. Usually it’s only kids on the hill. Apparently we’re anomalies in the parent world, that we would dare to put our clicking knees and achy backs at risk hurtling down a snowy hill. But the laughter and the memories are always well worth it.
The landings are a little less painful than the hills I had to sled down as a kid—we just end up caught in the blackberry bushes. Leaving you with only scratches on your skin and the stuffing leaking out of your jacket—but not flirting with actual paralysis from hitting a tree. Sometimes though, you still smash into an unsuspecting person with their toboggan in tow.
And sometimes that is your kid.
Not sure if that’s a parenting win or not, but it’s certainly a lasting memory.