Making a snow angel harkens back to a northern childhood winter ritual, usually performed with friends. It’s just not something you do alone. You flop down and swish your arms back and forth, usually ending up with a cold face full of snow. I remember creating many while growing up. Ever the perfectionist, I worked hard to get up and out of my angel without leaving evidence of footprints or handprints; as if the angel truly fell from the sky into the snow.
Last weekend, about 2,000 people lay down in the snow together, flapping their arms and legs. They gathered at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s football stadium, trying to break a world record for the most snow angels created simultaneously.
I’ll cut the suspense; no record was set (we would have needed about 9,000 people for that) but the event raised money for a good cause: clean water for Ethiopians. It was organized by a Duluth Rotary Club and Proctor High School DECA.
I attended with my teenage son, two of his friends, and one of the boy’s mothers. Although things were a bit confused, and certain people’s feet got cold because they didn’t listen to their mother and wear boots (ahem), the mood of the crowd was one of hope and whimsy.
The hope wasn’t centered so much around breaking a record as it was on bringing the community together for a common purpose. There’s something about so many people gathered to do the same thing that serves as a reminder of the power of the individual.
Whimsy was present, of course, in the act of creating the snow angels. It was also in the costumes some wore so they would be able to pick themselves out in the aerial photo taken by a helicopter that flew overhead at the appointed time.
Hope and whimsy: it was in this spirit that all of us gathered. And for a few minutes, we truly were snow angels with a common cause.