The Snow Architects

Diane Embry

When I was young and it snowed, my older brother and I became the Greatest Snow Architects Under the Age of 10. You may have heard of our greatness.

Our family had a plot of land out of town a bit, and an acre-and-a-half canvas was perfect for Jeffreytopia (Home of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) or the Kingdom of Queen Diane (aka My Little Pony Town),  depending on which sibling was feeling particularly generous. Jeff and I weren’t the type of kids who ran outside and left tracks going in haphazard directions like tiny drunken snow-boot-wearing sods. No, we built enormous, meticulous cities like the perfectionist children we were.

We drew a map of our road systems beforehand (always in blue crayon because white was impossible), and not a print in the snow was an accident (OK, sometimes I messed up, but I always covered it up before Jeff saw, so it practically never happened). We crawled in beautiful geometrical patterns – perfect right angles, parallel lines, roundabouts the crop-circle making aliens must have wept over. Our mitten-clad hands and snowsuit-padded knees carved masterpieces. The paths were perfect the very first time we crawled through unmarred snow—we never left knee marks, but smoothed the little roads like the unpotholed ones I imagine only exist in Canada and heaven. OK, so our cities didn’t have general stores or candy shops or banks or any buildings at all, but our roads took us great places! Like ... inside, for hot chocolate when we were done. Or if we want to get terribly cynical, these perfect roads led us to lives filled with awful anal retentive tendencies and the high probability of being that nasty old man and woman down your street who yell, “GET OFF MY SNOW!” when you’re six and normal and probably can’t help yourself. But I think I’ll take the hot chocolate and lack of pessimism instead. Please add so many marshmallows that it’s really a mushy solidy kind of hot drink. Thanks.