Saturday, December 11, 2010

Snow Fort: Tunneling into All-grown-up Land.

mine was more awesomer than this
 When I was younger snow like this meant one thing. It meant that my dad would go out in his Chevy pick-up and plow all the snow form our driveway into huge piles. It meant days and days of endless digging, tunneling, and carving out huge rooms in the snow. One year when we got a lot of snow, I made the biggest snow fort in history. It had several large rooms all connected eith tunnels you had to crawl through. It was a never ending process, the rooms always growing. As I scraped snow from the walls and hauled out sled-fulls of the stuff, I imagined the parties I would have, who I would invite. Certainly my older brothers would not be invited. And not Joe, my next-door-neighbor (he was the kind of kid who would ride his bike up to a jump like he was going to do it but veer off at the last second). No cry-babies would be allowed in my humongous snow fort.

Perhaps my standards were too high because no one ever came to the fort, and the parties I envisioned, where me and a dozen other kids would sit around drinking apple juice from crystal wine glasses, never happened. I suppose I knew there wouldn’t be any parties. No apple juice. No soft jazz playing in the background. So why did I keep digging?

I remember having a collection of icicles. They were diamonds and I was rich. And come to think of it, I never just sat in my fort, relaxing. I was always digging, making it bigger. My hands would get cold, my thin Power Rangers gloves soaking wet, but I wouldn't go inside. This fort was going to be bigger than my bedroom, bigger than my parent’s bedroom, bigger than the whole house! When the fort was big enough, I would know it because I wouldn't have a bed time anymore; wouldn't have to go to school; all of the sudden a beard would sprout under my face mask and Stephanie from down the street would be my wife. When the fort was big enough I wouldn't be a kid anymore and I would be able to do whatever I wanted; even eat a whole batch of cookie dough without getting sick.

When I went inside that night, I kept my fort a secret, but somehow my mom knew. She told me about a kid in the next town over who suffocated when his snow fort collapsed on him. I wondered if it was the same “kid from the next town over” who lost all his fingers when he reached under the lawn mower, or the same kid who burned his house down playing with matches. Nevertheless, I imagined the snow fort collapse as if it happened to me. I imagined the weight of it all; trying to take a breath but not being able to. Not being able to move my arms to dig myself out. The next day I continued enlarging my snow sanctuary anyways. But my desire for a humongous fort, and thus freedom, was weighed down by thoughts of suffocation. Was I making the walls too thin? Would the roof hold? I contemplated the thought that this thing that made me all-grown-up could collapse and suffocate me at any moment.

At some point I got bored of being an adult and went sledding at Dead Man’s Hill with all the other kids.


catching some sweet air

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