It only happens once a year. Nope it’s not Christmas or July 4th, in fact it’s not even a holiday. It’s Greenville’s annual winter storm.
Okay – so it’s not a guarantee. But for the past few years I’ve lived here, at least one winter storm has passed through. And, weirdly, I find myself looking forward to seeing Greenville in the snow.
I know what you’re thinking. Me? Snow? Looking forward to it? Because if there’s one thing that’s no secret, it’s that I hate the cold. The winter. The biting wind. The freezing rain. The wind chill. After four years in Ohio and two in Pittsburgh, winter has quickly become my least favorite season.
But there is one thing I do miss about winter. Snow. Especially those first few snows of the year. Where seeing the flakes fall to the ground brings a smile to my face. I feel this almost giddy, child-like joy take over as I bundle myself up to run out into the white.
And in Greenville I only get around one chance a year to experience it. So when Winter Storm Helena passed over the south and dumped 3-4” of snow in Greenville, I piled on the layers for an afternoon outdoors.
Alright, so maybe I didn’t rush out at the break of dawn. Instead I woke up lazily, made blueberry waffles, played a round of Mario Kart, and then headed out at around noon. Now the roads were crazy, and Ryan and I were not going to risk driving anywhere on them. At least not until the snow melted. So instead, we headed out on foot.
The neighborhood was not exactly deserted, there were people about, but still it seemed quiet. There’s just a silence to snow that I love. The only sound the soft crunch of your steps as you head down a snow covered sidewalk.
I stopped often in that first half mile or so, trying to capture the glistening trees and silent streets. I felt almost giddy when I spotted a tree covered in both pink flowers and snow.
After about a half mile, we decided to extend our walk and head into town. Not a lengthy distance, but also not one we make regularly. We left our neighborhood, passed through another, and reached downtown.
Here were the people. It seemed the braver souls had ventured downtown that morning to also get a glimpse of Greenville in the snow. We passed through, heading for Falls Park at the far end.
Now, if you’ve never been to Greenville, then you might not know we have a waterfall in our downtown. And there’s just something about it that draws people there. Maybes it’s just the novelty of having a waterfall in the middle of your city, but it seems every walk I take in town passes me through the Park at one point or another. And today was no different.
I took my time, photographing the snow covered falls from every angle. Enjoying the fact that, even though there were people about, it wasn’t the crushing crowds you get on warmer days. I even braved the ice covered pathways and headed down to the base of the falls. Amazingly I had it to myself for a few minutes.
But then I forced my eye to turn away. To take in the small details of Falls Park, the ones that sometimes get overlooked.
We continued onwards until the cold started to seep into my bones (see comment above about me and winter). And I knew there was only one thing that could warm me up.
So we headed to a couple of our favorite bars – played some pool and darts and, of course, drank my favorite dark beer.
It’s our yearly tradition, our snow routine. Walk the neighborhood. Head into town. Be dazzled (once again) by the waterfall. And finish the day off with a beer in one of our favorite bars.
In any other city, I would probably groan at the thought of snow. I would let my hatred for winter overtake me. (And trust me, I did in Ohio and Pittsburgh.) But here I know it’s rare. A treat once a year (if we’re lucky). A chance to see this city in a different light.
Oh Greenville in the snow…why do you happen just once a year?