Practically speaking, of course, snow usually sounds more appealing to those who don't have to go to work, find a way to get to the store, deal with power outages and so on. It's a novelty in these parts, as it was during my years living in California. I fondly remember taking the drive up to Mount Saint Helena during a Bay Area cold snap and rushing up the trail to reach the place where the snow was sticking to the ground. For me, the trek conjured childhood memories of a world muted with wonder. To my companion, though, who had spent most of her life in and around San Francisco, the outwardly modest winter spectacle was even more special.
During the recent inclement weather in Arizona, my daughter Skylar, who had played in snow several times -- there's a 9000-foot mountain just a few miles away from us as the raven flies -- but never had the chance to see it falling from the sky, begged to be taken where she could finally cross that experience off her list. But high winds and record precipitation on the state's mountain ranges made it a challenging request to honor. Finding a place that was low enough to still ensure safe passage yet high enough to have the promise of hexagonal bliss was not easy.
In the end, though, the lovely landscape of Madera Canyon, about an hour's drive south, proved to be the perfect destination. The views of the Santa Rita Mountains beyond the canyon were breathtaking, the temperature was not so biting as to make being outdoors unpleasant, and the white stuff dropped from the clouds on cue. Here is Skylar catching snowflakes on her tongue for the very first time:While not quite as astonishing as the video I was lucky to capture of her first-ever laugh -- at the IKEA in Burbank, of all places -- it's still pretty amazing to see such a milestone documented in this way. I will treasure both the photos and video I took and the memories that flesh them out for the rest of my life. And they will go a long way towards easing the urge I currently feel to be truly snowbound.