I am crunched inside the vestibule of the back yard igloo. I barely made it in and only after Sasha squeezed into one corner of the half-collapsed construction (the igloo was built a couple of weeks ago just before Christmas). I think “Alice in Winterland” and I smile.
It’s been a while since I looked at snow from so up close. It’s quiet in here and beautiful. If I take Sasha’s lead I can be anything, no holds barred. If you’re not sure how to find a breather on any given day, try crawling into a homebuilt igloo. It will take you there.
I was told I need to bring a big block of snow inside. The group leader, age six and counting, is firm in his request. I asked why twice and I got the same answer: There is no time, just hurry it in and I’ll tell you later. “Yes sir” seems fitting but I don’t say it. You never know.
The igloo is not an just an igloo anymore. There’s an entire snow cave to be explored and there is no time since it’s getting darker as we speak. Our flashlight is not reliable, it keeps going in and out. It makes sense, we’ve been swimming in soft-packed snow for the last forty-five minutes or so.
Sasha digs inside the white walls looking for signs of life. I shine the light: Pale and yellow, the artificial light makes the inside of our snow cave look almost eerie. We breathe soft clouds of steam that resemble gentle genies, the perfect inhabitants of such a magic place. But there is no time for dreaming.
“Quick, block the entrance with the block you brought in!”
The imminence of something terrible stabs the inside of the snow cave.
Why? (I really make a bad second in command with all the “why”s I throw out…)
“Because of the blizzard, can’t you see it?”
But of course. I have to move swiftly. Entrance blocked, we’re now staring at each other with an ink of a smile. What now?
“The blizzard is over, now we have to get out and cover the entrance.” Need I ask? I succumb to being led. He knows what he’s doing.
We crawl out, I grab a big block of snow and cover the entrance.
“Good, now the bats won’t come out anymore.”
Bats? Really? Not that it matters. I do it.
It’s hard work, making sure no snow bats come out. Normally my nature-lover Sasha is bat-friendly but this is different. A new aggressive species perhaps? We cover two more holes and suddenly the focus changes. An army of snowmen is attacking us. Yep, just like that.
I know better than to ask “Why?”
Because they do. Sasha is on top of the igloo designing a defense plan while I’m in charge of building the army of snowmen. Well, someone has to, no? I plant a few near the fence and we take position. We fight with snow balls and laughter. Crawling in snow, I feel nothing but softness and warmth.
Deadlines await and dinner has to be cooked, but I don’t want this to end. Given the chance I’d sign up for another episode of quickly-happening dramatic events right now. I like not being in charge for a change and reaping the benefits of seeing my son’s imagination soar high and taking me with. It’s quite a view from up there.
“You know what’s going to happen tomorrow mom? The snowmen will be all over the back yard, lots of them…”
His wide-eyed delight tempts and rewards me at the same time.
Sign me up, I’m in. No ifs, ands or buts. Or whys.