Grit Blogs > Of Mice and Mountain Men

The Special Christmas Gift

A photo of Allan DouglasThe house is still quiet, only the gentle crackling of the fire in the fireplace, revived from the embers of the blaze we enjoyed late into the evening as we watched Christmas movies together, and Dolly’s gentle snoring disturb the silence.  I gaze out the window at the equally still morning outside.

Small white flakes are falling gentle as goose down, swirling in the occasional soft gust.   The tops of things and roofs are just frosted with the accumulated snow flakes, not the ground, not yet.  A small thrill of excitement rises in my chest; we have not had a white Christmas since 1981, but it looks very promising this year.

We have in fact had 3 snowfalls this year, one of them pretty heavy – heavy for us; quite minor by the standards of some others – which is unusual.  We don’t normally get snowfall until mid January or February.  So the odds of enjoying a white Christmas any year where we are are slim.

To find snow on Christmas day, we must pile into our truck and head up into the higher mountains.  Chestnut and Round Mountains rarely disappoint.  But to get up and find snow falling outside our window on Christmas morning is a rare treat indeed.

Mountain Snow Line 

Our mountain; Piney Mountain, does not have the elevation to reach up into the usual slow lines.  You see elevation makes a marked difference in whether precipitation falls as rain or now.  During out last snowfall I took this photo which shows how suddenly this change can come about.  An extra 100 feet on this mountain slope changes the topography from wet with rain to snow-covered.  It is really quite amazing, and is just one of the reasons we love living here so much.

The single flakes have begun to pair up and twirl like dancers in the air, then the pairs begin to combine as the dancers become more numerous and clusters of flake whirl and twirl; a barn dance in the air.

The snow begins to stick to the grass now… yessir, we are going to have ourselves a white Christmas for sure.

I hear stirrings of wakefulness in the other rooms now.  I lay another log on the fire and head into the kitchen to start breakfast.  It is indeed a very Merry Christmas in our home!

The next day I discovered just how easily I am amused!

Our white Christmas turned into a VERY white Christmas.  This morning I measured  5½ inches of snow laying on top of our porch sides.  That makes it the largest snow fall we can remember… and it’s still snowing!

Yes, I know… this is nothing at all to those of you with 12” or more on the ground already.  But if you think THAT is lame… read on! 

Winter Wonderland 

The trees are loaded down too, making a gorgeous winter wonderland of our yard, or at least it was until a bit of a wind kicked up. Then I experienced one of the most entertaining things I’ve seen in a while.

I’m sitting on the sofa, enjoying a blaze in the fireplace, sipping a mug of hot chocolate, watching out the window when a gust would wiggle the upper branches of a tree, dislodging some snow.  This would fall down onto branches below, dislodging more snow, which fell and dislodged even more, suddenly this tree would go into a “white out” condition with the snow flying all around and I could hear a “fwoop-woomp-woomp” sound as the whole batch smashed into the snow on the ground. Treevalance!!

It was wonderful!  Ah the joys of simple living!  Or maybe I should say life as a simpleton!  Laugh if you want, but I’m having a great time!

I hope your family had a great Christmas too!

melody gould
12/24/2011 3:25:57 PM

Wow! Sounds great. Wishing I was somewhere where there is even just the chance of a white Christmas instead of sunny Florida. It appears we are going to be spending Christmas day in shorts with the temperatures hitting the mid-80's. Oh well. Enjoy the snow for me!

allan douglas
1/14/2011 4:48:49 AM

Thanks Dave, Sounds like the folks in Atlanta have you beat on winter sports this year! I saw a couple of videos on The Weather Channel with people sledding (one was pulling a sofa behind a four-wheeler) and one fellow ice skating along a main down-town road! We've had more snow than I'm accustomed to, but the old timers say that in runs in cycles; there were times when mor snow than this was perfectly normal. 1983 was a recod breaking snow - the same year St Louis (our former residence) had their 100 year flood. I believe Nebraska and Iowa has a lot of flooding that year too. We could definately do some sledding this year... but I'm afraid we'd end up in the next county! Thanks for dropping in Dave!

nebraska dave
1/4/2011 11:29:37 AM

@Allan, A white Christmas is a special thing isn’t it? It just makes the day all that much better with fresh white snow on the trees and ground. We here in Nebraska just barely had a white Christmas with only a couple inches of fresh snow. Last year we had several feet of snow by this time. We haven’t really had enough snow to even go sledding down the school yard hill this year. My grandson is beginning to believe that grandpop is pulling his leg about snow in Nebraska. We have a couple good snow months to go so I’m sure that there will be ample time to sled down the hill. It sure is the best to watch snow fall with the crackling fire in the background. I like to watch the snow fall from my favorite book store through the big plate glass windows as I sip a coffee and browse magazines. It looks so Courier and Ives. It's just a good way to spend an hour or two then get home before the roads get too bad. I hope this next year is as special all through out the year as your white Christmas was. Have a great new year.