Sixteen-year-old Lucas Toniolo ran outside his new home Monday night in Kokomo and looked up to see the first snowflakes of the season falling from the sky.
“I was in my pajamas, and it was freezing,” he told me this week. “But I didn’t care.”
He stood there for at least an hour just watching the snow fall. He waited so long, in fact, that when he was done watching, there was enough snow on the ground to make tiny snowballs and have his first-ever snowball fight.
He had been waiting for this his whole life.
Lucas is from Brazil, a place where it never snows. During cold winter days there, the temperature falls to maybe 65 degrees.
So Lucas came to Indiana through an exchange program, in part, to fulfill a lifelong dream, he told me.
And on Monday night, he did.
Lucas’ house parent, Casey Cline, captured the moment on camera.
This brown-haired, bright-eyed teen is posing for the picture in his flannel pants and a long sleeve T-shirt. He’s showing off the little bit of snow he could find on the ground, and his mouth is hanging open in shock and wonder.
He looks so happy, the kind of pure and unadulterated joy you often see in children but rarely see in adults.
I was snuggled under the covers at my apartment and cursing Mother Nature under my breath when I stumbled across the photo on Twitter.
I smiled. And nothing about snow ever makes me smile.
To prove my point, I give you Exhibit A: my tweet from Monday afternoon.
“I do not like that forecasters are calling for up to an inch of snow tonight,” I wrote. “It’s too early to start this, Mother Nature. Do you hear me?”