This winter has been one of much snow. Much snow means snow piles everywhere. I recall the snow piles of my youth with joy. They were so much fun to play on! We’d tunnel through them. We’d climb on top of them. We’d slide down them. We’d wrangle pieces off them and create something completely new. If I were a kid again, there are so many games I’d play on the piles within my reach — depending on their shape and size, of course.

Some mounds I’ve seen lately actually resemble mountain ranges, complete with peaks and valleys, trails and “boulder” fields. These would be perfect for that latent kid in me. I could imagine myself as a member of the French Resistance during World War II, leading unfortunates up, down, through and finally over the Pyrenees to the safety of Spain. We’d travel no matter the weather. Rain would not stop us. Snow would not stop us. Heat would not stop us. We’d be determined and strong enough to withstand the elements. We’d be wise and wily in hiding from the enemy. Forest, cave, rock ledge, all imprinted on our brains as a place to go to ground when necessary. We’d have an innate sense of who was friend and who was foe; know where we could safely find refuge and where to avoid. In this way we’d not be captured. In this way we’d reach our destination whole and unscathed. In this way we would advance justice and freedom. Must wonder if the real resistance members ever felt so self-assured as a kid at play. Most probably not. They did what they did for a greater good. I have their history to go by, yet will never be sure if I’d have ever been brave enough to take part in the real thing had I lived during that time in that place. They were brave souls indeed.

Me, not so much.

I could also imagine myself as an early explorer of the United States. Sacajawea accompanying Lewis and Clark as they mapped out the west, perhaps. I’ve visited a few mountain ranges in my time, but I’ve driven at higher altitudes than I’ve ever hiked. 10,000 feet is about my “leg limit,” and the vistas from that height are amazing. I’m not sure how much exploring I’d have gotten done were I afoot in those early days of our country’s west.

Maybe my people were wise to stay behind and till the midwestern land … When I look at the many snow hills abounding this winter I forget about old legs and remember young ones, and how fun it was to imagine myself to be an early explorer. Clad against the elements, following the twisting trails, traversing the hills and valleys, risking snow blindness to see what lay over the next ridge. Ah, yes, to be a kid again would make the local hills grow truly mountainous in size.

But alas I am not a kid, nor will I ever be one in truth. But it’s fun to imagine. And to remember days gone by when I was a French woman, or a pioneer in a covered wagon. Imagination can take us to places we’ve never dreamed of. All around the world, in fact. Hope I never lose that “kid part” of me that longs to seek new horizons — even if only through the pages of a book. Afterall, books are what gave me the aforementioned ideas in the first place. Go play in the snow!

February is a short month, even in a leap year. Smile. Spring draws ever closer.

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