It is Sunday afternoon and we are back at home, stripping off eternal layers and peeling off damp socks. The grumpy boys who didn’t want to get out of bed at 7:30 am are long gone, replaced with happy children, rosy cheeked and full of life.
Snow. I don’t imagine they will ever tire of it. I haven’t. An rud is anamh is iontach (what’s rare is wonderful) and here in this part of Germany, as in Ireland, a good snowfall is rare. When it happens life slows down and people cheer up.
On Sunday we joined friends for a tobogganing trip to the Black Forest. It isn’t far. Every time we go we say we should go more often. Maybe we’ll stick to that this year.
We got there early. The snow was perfect. The sun was out. The crowds hadn’t arrived yet.
There’s something about snow that turns everyone back into a child. Maybe it is the funny kind of crunch it makes under foot or the way it looks so inviting to touch but almost burns your hand with its coldness. Perhaps it is the thrill of making a footprint in a pristine layers of freshly fallen snow or the way it transforms the world temporarily.
As soon as we bailed out of the cars, hands reached out to make snowballs. There were gentle thuds, hunched shoulders, ducked heads and squeals of delight. That was before we even unstrapped the children from their car seats.
Once out, even the children seemed more child-like, pulling wooden sleighs, tasting clean snow, running off to the deep snow at the edges of the car park to see how high up their legs the snow came.
Four hours were spent hurtling down a hill on a sledge and trudging back up again only to repeat the whole performance. The boys must have gone 40 times or more. Down quickly, up slowly, grinning all the way.
“Look at me”
“Did you see me?”
“I bet I’ll beat you”
“This one is the fastest”
There was no asking where the next shop is or what there is to play with. There was no asking how long we have to stay here, no I don’t wants, no unfairs, no but whys. There was snow. And that was enough.
Back home we discard layers of anoraks, fleeces and polonecks on the hall floor. The wet boots are set on the radiators to dry overnight. By bedtime what remains of the day are sodden boots and happy boys.