Sunday, November 2, 2014


Went out to get the Sunday New York Times and there was a little frost on the ground--well, on the un-raked leaves in the shade. It's a sunny morning and I slept in a bit.

But that made me think of my kids--my two girls--and the first time they recognizably saw frost on the ground. You see, though both girls were born in Central Illinois and had experienced both frost and snow as well as hail and ice and cornfields and soybean fields and--well, all that Central Illinois has to offer, shall we say--they didn't really remember it. Mercifully or not, they couldn't recall it because when they were very young we moved to South Florida.

So, one of the first times we were driving back to Illinois for a holiday--maybe Thanksgiving but more likely Christmas--we stopped for the night in Georgia, probably south or north of Atlanta. (We always drove not flew--some of that just out of stubborn habit.) We pulled into a Super 8 or some such place late at night, off the highway among a few other some-such-places and Waffle Houses and their ilk. Slept. Got up semi-early. At this exit there was still a stand of trees and a plot or two of land that had not been turned over to an American restaurant or motel chain and that stretch of earth and trees was just filled with frost.

The frost was thick and unexpected. It lay like silver, like crushed glass, along the hard ground and under the bare trees. Even to my wife and I it was a surprise, kind of a wonder in its way. But to the girls--who had not felt cold air, seen their breath in that air, had not seen or felt snow or ice on a landscape in all their memories--it was the most stupendous thing.

So we spent some time walking among the frost and touching it and explaining it. I think when we did cross the Ohio River there was snow in Southern Illinois and we stopped at a rest area and they played in that. But that morning in Georgia where the frost was a crystallized unknown under a morning sun, that--I think--was more exciting. Exciting for them, but also exciting for my wife and I--seeing the world again through their eyes.