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Posted: January 13, 2011 7:40 a.m.

Giddens: Snow makes for wet blanket

Kids and canines love snow.

Cats and codgers like myself have less use for it.

Our Maine coon cat, Hades, ran out the back door to our home Sunday night when I was looking out at the falling ice pellets covering our deck. He knows he’s not supposed to go out at night (possums here are twice his size), and he thought he’d pulled off some great escape, until halfway down the deck it apparently dawned on him that the white stuff underfoot and all about was cold, and even worse, wet.

He stopped, yowled his displeasure, and made his way under the deck.

I didn’t have to go out and call incessantly this time, he was ready to come back in, cold, wet and indignant.

I was up late, watching the snow accumulate in the back yard. Snow, or any form of frozen precipitation for that matter, has always held great fascination for me. Growing up in south Georgia, I never saw more than a fickle flake or two at most until I was 17. Snow was something exotic, something to celebrate, to immerse yourself in and play with.

But snow has become something better enjoyed looked at from the relative warmth of our solarium. Sure, there are tactile pleasures to be had in an encounter with frozen precipitation. There’s the satisfying crunch underfoot, and the great silence broken by the sound of small ice pellets falling on magnolia leaves to enjoy, but such delights are now outweighed by the shivers brought on by a slower metabolism and the exasperation of already achy bones.

Cold comforts indeed.

Still, the soft predawn glow off the snow Monday held promise for a fun walk. Donna and I layered up and headed out. It was pretty, but cold, with a wet wind whipping rain in our faces. I had ice crystals in my beard. Donna made it to the Oxford soccer field before turning around, but I kept going toward the main campus, looking for someone to take a photo of for the paper.

In college, snow meant no classes and a ton of fun, snowball fights with participants numbering in the hundreds at UGA, sledding down the hill at Legion Field on a lunchroom tray, or just a simple walk through Old Campus.

I walked over to the quad at Oxford, but there was no one out and about. I had it to myself. There was one other set of footprints, and tracks on the road made it evident that I wasn’t alone in the world, but there was no snowman, no snowballs flying, nothing.

I walked behind the dorms to a student parking area, and there were cars there, ice-and-snow covered, which indicated that folks do indeed attend the school, but there was no sign of who may have parked them there. One car had a Florida license plate, surely they would be out in the snow, but no.

It’s different now, I know. My own offspring are more blasé about such wonders as snow.

But here was several inches of stuff on the ground that could be shaped into very sturdy snowballs and even more formidable snow people, and no one out to enjoy it.

And then it struck me, it wasn’t them, it was me. I had become that old guy who in summer rails at the neighbor kids to keep off the grass, and rants how much better life was back in the day.

It was 9 a.m., well into my day, but these kids were being kids, sleeping in late. There was plenty of time for them to enjoy the snow and life.

I headed on home, alone in the world, just a wanderer in a frigid landscape, wondering about when the joys of sleeping in cozy comfort until noon had left me behind.

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