Until recently, my kids had never really seen the snow. Once or twice we were on a vacation at a mainland destination where a few flakes came down, but melted as soon as they hit the ground. One spring break trip to Kansas City offered enough for my older girl to make a sort of muddy snow man, kind of like the one Jem made in “To Kill A Mockingbird.”
When it comes to good old-fashioned, winter snow, neither of them ever had the chance to romp and play in piles of that soft white cold stuff, or to slide down a hill in it or to freeze their little tushes off. My kids complain that it is cold when the temperature drops dangerously below 71º. That’s why I took them on “ski” trip to Heavenly in Lake Tahoe last month. They needed to get their inner snow bunnies on!
I have heard that local kids are naturals at the sport and that proved true for mine. My older girl was snowboarding like a pro by the second day. The younger one was sliding around on intermediate slopes long before I made it successfully down “The Big Easy.”
While they were surprised at the cold, they were not uncomfortable. We took the advice of my expert sister and “layered.” Add to that the boxes of snow pants and gloves and hats and long underwear that she sent from her East Coast collection, we were well prepared in that department.
We did it all, from skiing and snowboarding, to old-fashioned tubing and snow ball fights. My family embraced the opportunity and relished every minute in this foreign environment.
Just as I am filled with awe and excitement every time I glimpse the ocean from Farrington Highway as I round Kahe point, the minute I stepped outside in the bracing cold, I had to catch my breath. Not because my lungs were constricted, because I was filled with the power and strength of this amazing place that dumped piles of snow in perfect little flakes on us from the minute we got off the plane until the day we returned to the airport for our flight home.
I know that there is a blessing when you see a rainbow. That comes in quite handy in Hawaii where we see them on a regular basis–but are still excited every time. I kept wondering what specific blessing I would say for this place. Even though I did not know the words, it was certainly in my heart. I have come to learn that Shehecheyanu would have been perfect–especially for this Hawaii family’s first time.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who has kept us alive, and sustained us, and enabled us to reach this moment.