Snow is flying everywhere. Not falling, like it normally should, but actually flying. Its trajectory is completely horizontal, until gravity gets the better of it, at which point it either lands on the ground or careens into the Mexican people further ahead in line. A family of three is in a toboggan sledding in front of my sister and me, staging a snowball fight. I want to kill this family.
There is a place on the way up to Big Bear, along the windy, unsafe mountain roads, that has snow, but not many people stop to enjoy it. It’s called Snow Valley and its snow is not like normal snow. Snow Valley’s snow feels more like refrigerator ice cubes than Christmas. But it’s not a problem for my nine-year-old sister and me. Neither of us is interested in building igloos, Olympic skiing or even snowboarding. We just like to go tobogganing.
The line is long. It wraps around and behind the slope’s bottom edge in a deceiving U-shape, the kind of line Walt Disney must have invented. It’s a line that says, ‘I’m not long,’ and then says, ‘I’m kidding.’ Gondolas lead up the toboggan slope, a slope that, honestly, is neither very long nor very steep. You have to wait 20 minutes in this line. We’re at the halfway point.
Driving three hours to Snow Valley is the only way I can grasp the idea of real seasons. I’ve come to know Mother Earth this way. She is more menopausal in California than quarterly and rational, like she is everywhere else. A Southern California year is just a progression of hotter and hotter days, with mood swings of rain every now a