Things We Hold On To

Do you find yourself holding on to odd things? I’m not talking about a salt-and-pepper shaker set that reminds you of the first vacation you took as a family or those Polaroids of your 8th birthday party.

I mean habits and traditions that have no foundation other than that’s just what was always done.

Mine is an unspoken rule about walking in the snow. Specifically snow on the yard.


Growing up, my sister and I could leave all the footprints we wanted in the back yard. We were never told not to run through a snow-covered front yard, but we didn’t. It was just understood.

A snow-covered lawn is pretty. It’s a fresh coat of white over winter-brown grass and fallen twigs. It has a purity to it. When the moon is up, shadows of blue trace the trees.

It’s not that all footprints shouldn’t appear on a front yard. Without human boot treads everywhere, it’s easier to pick out the pattern of deer running, the sliding glide of a rabbit’s hop, and – if you look close enough – the delicate trace of birds’ feet.

Maybe this is a silly thing to hold on to. But I hold on to it anyway.

snow-stepsSo when someone did this during the first snow to fall this year, I was annoyed.

More annoyed after said perpetrator stopped at the mailbox and was told not to put footprints on the yard and then came back along the yard anyway.

Sure, it’s a silly thing to hold on to and the snow fall wasn’t anything to brag about. But I hold on to it anyway.

And although the warm temperatures that followed the next snowfall broke my heart a little when they made the snow vanish in a day, I was secretly glad … just a bit … because the yard had stayed the way it should be.


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