A Million Snowflakes

The past five days, I was snowed in.  Really snowed in.

My daughter and i were at the first high school equestrian meet of the season. In the Pacific Northwest, equestrian meets are a WINTER sport.

So the premise is shaky to begin with.

But this week, we were hit by an amazing, once every five years, pretend you live in Ohio type snowstorm. Right as the meet began.  Unlike Ohio, our area doesn’t have the plowing equipment to get to small roads, and it’s twenty times more difficult to trailer out horses than to simply chance the ice and snow in an SUV by itself. Or say, a minivan.

So we were trapped at the fairgrounds. Hundreds of high school girls, their moms (mostly, and a few valiant dads),their coaches, and their horses.  For five days, my daughter and her teammate and I lived in a thirty square foot trailer. We ran out of propane. Our water stopped working.  We wore all the clothes we had.  The horses wore clothes. The horses’ water froze over.  We were filthy and wet and smelled bad.

And I have to say, it was a delight.

There’s something about getting back to basics. I won’t say survival, because let’s be frank..there was a Safeway and a Winco less than a mile away, many people had four wheel drive vehicles (not me, though), and our phones worked.  Yet we couldn’t get to work, or back to school. Work and school were cancelled as the girls rode, rode, rode their events.  Sometimes someone got first prize. Other times there were disappointments.    I learned how to replace propane tanks, making an effort to ask for help, something I don’t usually do.  Late on Sunday the events were over and the girls took their horses to the arena and traded riding each other’s animals-bareback, with blankets on.  I rode the one of my daughter’s friend’s horses. “My turn!” I shouted.Image

 I built a snow castle with a girl who is turning 18 this week.

I am turning fifty this week, and we were both ten, just for awhile.

The weather broke enough Sunday night for a restaurant team dinner. The team celebrated our birthdays. We were warm.  We laughed.  We assessed the weather. We couldn’t believe we were not getting home til Monday.  School and work (mine at least) were cancelled for Monday and we all cheered.

I will miss this dreadfully when my daughter goes to college this fall.

I am so lucky to have had this time with her. I am broke, and it was worth every penny.  My poor ex didn’t know what he was missing, because it wasn’t “his thing”. Doesn’t matter.

I learned many things in five days, and maybe I’ll write more about it this week.  I hope so. Snow you can’t escape, weather you can’t change, moments that can’t be recaptured but can only be held in a fleeting glimpse. How much you want to hold on, to keep them suspended, the picture of young girls and their horses, like all those silly, sentimental horse stories some of us read as young girls ourselves.

“There’s something special about this-the horse and the girls, I don’t know” said one of my friends, watching in the stands as our daughters laughed and led the horses out of the arena and into the cold.

“A memory to share with her great grandchildren” texted my boss when I told her I was trapped at the fairgrounds.

Yes, indeed.




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