Thursday, January 5, 2012


The weather we have been expecting now for weeks has finally arrived. After much anticipation and no precipitation whatsoever, Bagram woke up to a blanket of white snow. I was heading out the door, ready to do an early workout, when my roommate yelped with what I think was a mixture of joy and dread. Snow makes even Bagram look pretty, at least for a while. The first time you snow after a long wait through the other seasons, it is hard not to be excited. Fluffy, clean, pure... but that lasts about as long as it takes the trucks to rumble by and mix in the dirt and filth which is right below the white surface.

Growing up in Florida, I can only remember one real snow day. It was March of my fourth grade year, right around my birthday, and I was spending the night with my best friend. Her father woke us up as dawn was breaking and we drove off away from the bay where they lived to find some real snow. It was more exciting than waiting for Santa's arrival. As we drove a little north and more snow accumulated on the soft lawns, I couldn't contain myself. I begged our driver, my friend's father, to pull over on the side of the road so that we could build a snow man. I was too afraid that the snow would melt so quickly that I would not have the chance to do something I had only ever watched on t.v. Somewhere in my boxes of childhood memories I still have that picture of the two of us and our 18 inch snow man. Later in the day, we found even more snow and were able to make a snow man taller than out 10 year old selves. In a way though, that first, baby snow man, was the best.

Around camp, quite a few snow men have appeared. Of course, in this crowd, some of them are not "clean" enough for a PG audience. And, with a dearth of corn silk pipes and button noses or even carrots or coal to suffice as facial features, some of these soldiers have gotten extremely creative. One of my favorite snow sculptures of today was a before and after demonstration of what happens when a snow man smokes. The first snow man was white and intact, looking fairly healthy, while the second had melted and turned a little black around the edges. He has cigarette buds in his "mouth." It was particularly funny since this little pitch for quitting smoking was constructed right next to the "smoke pit" where soldiers go to take their smokes breaks. I doubt it caused anyone to quit, at least today.

Seeing the snow has made me miss home and a real snow day. Last winter, my first real winter where it snowed more often than once and on a few occasions meant that school and work were cancelled, snow days were the best. It was the one time when it was completely ok to stay home and wear pjs all day, drinking coffee and eating coffee cake (notice the coffee-ish theme). I shoveled my first driveway and sidewalk, too. It didn't feel like work though because it wasn't. Our snow days meant only the work that you either HAD to do and hopefully that didn't take too long or the work you wanted to do because you enjoyed it. It was also a time to visit with family and just spend time hanging out and catching up on all the things that hadn't happened because of the general busy-ness of life. Sometime this meant watching last week's episode of GLEE or even cleaning my room, but still because it was a snow day, it was fun. Snow days were less about the snow and more about the company.

Every time walk outside and see the 3 or so inches of snow, I think about how this would be a perfect day to cease and desist, to wear pjs all day and watch movies. And then I remember, I have no real excuse to stay home. With a little more care, I can easily get myself to work. It is barely a three minute walk away. And, the mission goes on too. There are soldiers out there patrolling villages, overcoming snow and ice in order to do the things that need to be done. Its also hard not to think about the children we have met at the Egyptian Hospital, with holes in their shoes and less than weather proofed outerwear. While we are in the middle of planning another service and outreach project there, it is hard not to wish that we had made it once more before this first snow. I hope though, that those who were given knitted hats, scarves, mittens, sweaters, and blankets, found themselves slightly warmer this morning, than they would have been otherwise.

And so, we go on, snow and all. Just another day in Afghanistan....

1 comment:

  1. Julia McMath StewartJanuary 9, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    One of my favorite and most cherished childhood memories! So glad we got to share that time together... love and miss you!