a small julia and a bear 1 2 3 4

I have never loved the snow so much since. As a child, it was more than the gleeful snow day, and even as a teenager, it was more than the egoistic recognition that I was a better driver than most other Albemarle County residents. It was the joy of making the longest sledding run, the bumpiest one, the most dangerous run ... It was the joy of snowmen, snowwomen, snowsphinxes, and snow angels. There was the stomping and shaking of snow off clothes and shoes, Mom with the broom brushing us off, and getting half-undressed on the front porch, and the rush to find a radiator not already occupied with gloves, hats, sweaters, and whatever else lasted from our last outing that day.

My brother and I had it good. Our pasture was the neighborhood sledding hill, and by the time we were old enough to think about it, we were the oldest kids in the neighborhood. There's no power like being the oldest and the owner of the sledding hill. The hill was a fabulous hill. It featured all sorts of grades and surfaces, from the beginner slopes (low gradients that followed the old goat paths) to "Dead Man's Hill" which featured sharp dropoffs and several bruised kids. Most people went down one of the intermediate hills - there was one stretch perfect for saucers, while another suited the toboggan to a t.