Trina Machacek: Desert snowmen

Trina Machacek

Trina Machacek

  • Discuss Comment, Blog about
  • Print Friendly and PDF
As fall falls around me I am already thinking of the snow of winter and what it will bring. Then I smacked myself around and decided not to get so far ahead of things. Well except for the little window I keep open in my phone that today tells me it is a mere 191 days until next Easter. But I only look at it once a day. OK maybe twice. No, I am not wishing my precious life away but. Yes a falling “but.” Hey, a girl has to dream.
This story isn’t really about the snow in my future. It is about snowmen and how in years past I have seen them made and displayed. Over the years of the snow covered outside that comes magically starting sometimes as early as mid-October here, many a snowman found life on my new white lawn of winter. Admittedly it has been more years ago than there are mittens hanging on my mitten dryer that stands next to my wood stove since I rolled and created a fine snowman to stand sentry in my yard. FYI my wrought iron mitten dryer holds five pair of mittens.
That doesn’t mean I don’t know how and haven’t made some pretty stall-worthy and long-lasting snowmen in my time. Oh no. Over snows and snowball fights some wonderful coal-eyed, carrot-nosed, twig-armed characters have come and melted in winters past. However, in my travels I have been greeted by different creations. Like Weed-man.
Some years ago it was a very dry and crunchy winter here. As I remember it there was not enough snow to roll without picking up rocks and winter-killed weed parts. It was that winter that I saw my first tumbleweed snowman. I am not talking cute little guy with a base no bigger than a basketball. This snow/weed man was huge. Weed-man would have given any family a real packed clean and white as, well white as snow, tall frozen snowman a good run for his money.
The basic structure was dried tumbleweeds piled with three humongous weeds. The bottom dry weed was nearly four feet high and the same measurement from side to side. The middle was a titch smaller and was decorated with the universally seen three coal briquettes for buttons. Atop this creation was a round, dried and tannish colored tumbleweed about the size of the giant pumpkin of Charlie Brown’s dreams.
Each section of Weed-man’s weeds were upside down to give him a more rounded stature. The arms were the dried twigs from a nearby winter sleeping willow tree. This was not a “crafty” art creation. One that you might see that was painted with gold or silver and adorned with some type of hanging ornaments. No, Weed-man was in all his tumbleweed glory au natural. His head came alive with coal eyes and grinning mouth and a long orange pointed and somewhat haggard dried out wilted carrot nose. Wearing a striped and fringed neck scarf Weed-man was topped with a knit cap that was scrunched and laid as a top fixture. Oh, he was something to see standing tipping unsteadily in the winter winds. All of about seven or eight feet tall on the porch of a family in town he looked like he was just daring old man winter to snow.
I suspect Weed-man finally did succumb to time. He was either crunched into a garbage bag or just blew away to the neighbors leaving a grand line of seeds that I am sure sprouted with vim and vigor come the spring. But for a few weeks that winter, Weed-man was enjoyed by many locals.
Another snow activity that over the years has become a past activity for me is the creation of the snow angel. First you fall backward into a soft fluffy amount of snow. While lying in the pile of frozen water flapping your arms up and down in the snow at the same time your legs are flopped out and back. That’s the easy part! The next part is the reason this activity has become an, “I used to do this” event. After the fun of falling backward into the snow, flailing arms and legs to and fro you must then attempt to get to a standing position without messing up the snow that is smashed under your body.
I have found that even with the kind help of a snow mate getting up became a feat accomplished with sounds of ugh and oof. However, the angelic sight left behind is well worth the effort.
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka. Her books are available online wherever you buy books. Or email her at to buy signed copies.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment