On snowfall

SnowIsn’t it funny how completely serene the first snowfall of the year can be? It’s so fresh and clean and beautiful, yet we will – without doubt – curse it’s existence only a few days later, if it hasn’t melted and disappeared, remembered only as a memory; as an aberration of our unusually warm October.

I woke this morning and looked out into the dark street to find a barrage of snowflakes, drifting towards the ground with reckless abandon – a deluge of white; a downpour of winter, albeit a few weeks early. It instantly put me in a good mood. It instantly took all of my worries away. I just laid in bed and stared. I couldn’t help it.

Snowfall is always wonderful. A steady rain falls constantly and makes a comforting noise, but it has nothing on the comfort of a sudden snowfall. Personally, I find it best at night, when the white snow stands out against the darkness of night, blotting out everything but itself, sheltered from the sun and prepared to set in, untouched for the next few hours.

This dark snowfall – be it an early morning before Daylight Savings Time or an evening bluster during prime time – always seems to bring back a flood of memories, mostly centering on long night drives, the haze of the lights on either side of the street, the sudden blinking glow of a snow plow. It reminds me of living in Minnesota, where I would spend late nights learning about life and standing outside to get a breath of fresh air.

I can smell the sudden rise in car exhaust, as if the snow pushed the sensory levels to 11 and turned up the combustion. I can feel each flake melt against my face, creating a clammy sheen as if I had just finished a rigorous workout. My breath shows itself, and everything is flecked with a dandruff like coating. Usually, all I can do is stare straight up, feeling the slight prick of frozen water enter my eye.

Eventually, we begin to hate the snow. It becomes dirty; slushy and messy to a fault and unbelievably cumbersome. It causes accidents, and it chills us to the core. We dread the windy gust of frozen sleet that meets us as we open a door to the outside. We bundle up and prepare to be proactive, to battle winter before it has a chance to tear our warmth away.

But on mornings like this – when flakes steadily, but gently, pummel the barely-alive grass and the cold concrete – it’s something magical. Virgin snow is easily one of the most beautiful sights ever encountered; the way it coats the bare trees, and the way it wipes away the color palate and begins again with a white, clean slate.

It’s refreshing, and a little exhilarating. It’s everything that’s good about winter.

This was lovingly handwritten on October 18th, 2006