The wet and heavy snow that clogged streets, sidewalks, gutters and the insides of pedestrians' shoes as the winds cleared Sunday was an ideal construction material. Children of all ages set to work making snowballs, snow forts, and snow effigies, filling yards and parks throughout the city with their creations.
The Square in downtown Madison became the home for at least four snow creatures on Sunday, a pig, a penguin, two people and a supervillain, standing sentry against the cold marble of the Capitol.
A photo tour of the frozen menagerie is available at right.
One of the first snow creatures to take form was a classic three-sphere snowman on the quadrant of the Square facing East Main Street. While its form was humanoid, the creature bore the head of a pig, complete with pointed ears and a round snout. After all, it's been only a week since the beginning of NÃng lÃ xÄn niÃn, the Lunar New Year (and the Year of the Pig). Of course, it might have been another creature altogether. Perhaps a Badger, speculated Brad Vogel, created in anticipation of the UW men's basketball game against Ohio State, which the team would lose by a hairsbreadth later that afternoon.
Two more snow persons made their homes a short but soggy walk east from the porcine sentinel. These were more like the traditional Frosties of yore, complete with small branches for arms. One even sported a trio of dark stones for buttons. The other, meanwhile, kept warm with a full head of mossy hair.
Nearly 180 degrees around the Capitol stood the fourth snow effigy, this one a short and rotund avian wearing a top hat. A penguin, no doubt. This creature faced south, perhaps yearning for its polar home.
The biggest and most impressive snow creature of the day, though, stood tall near the corner of East Main and South Hamilton streets. Still being crafted by half a dozen sculptors as Sunday afternoon lengthened, this golem stood over six feet tall. Described by one of its creators as a superhero -- no, a supervillain -- the effigy sported a classic carrot nose, coal-like eyes (and nipples), a muscular torso, a crown of conifer leaves, and a single horn.
These five snow critters were by no means the only ones sprouting around Madison. A group of eight snow sculptors crafted a 15-foot effigy of Bast in Reynolds Park on the near east side of town. Then there was a "Snowhenge" created by UW law professor Gordon Smith and his family. With near to below freezing temperatures forecast for the duration of the week, here's hoping these creations stick around (and together) for a while.