Snow. Just reading that word makes some people shiver! Frosty winds have whipped across the United States during the first days of 2018. Even in Florida, a few inches of snow dusted the northern part of the state. I just returned from a blissful family retreat in Vermont. It’s entertaining to hear my fellow Floridians whine about the “freezing” weather here. But I can relate; I’m a bit chilly today, too. It sounds ludicrous but it is true! (I may or may not have put on the heat in my home for a few hours.)
My kids tease me about my fascination with the sparkly glitter that falls from the sky. They quipped yesterday that “I bet this week’s blog is about snow, right? How boring!” I laughed and said, “Yes! It sure is!”
I’ve lived in the South my entire life, other than my undergraduate college years at Indiana University. My amazing Aunt Linda and Uncle Larry took me to the Poconos in Pennsylvania when I was a teen. That is when I first fell in love with snow. I will never forget that trip. I assumed, like the thrill of many other new experiences, that the novelty would fade. It has not.
When I was in college, my roommates laughed as I would run outside in the middle of a blizzard. Others were also perplexed as to why a gal from Miami was (and is) so pale. They called me Snow White! I am not making this up. I loved walking to class and watching flurries softly land on my coat.
Snow continues to captivate me. I adore the quiet ambiance that follows after a snowstorm. Pure, pristine powder dusts roads and rooftops. Trees and leaves look as if an invisible baker frosted them with icing. Branches bend yet somehow don’t break as if they’re accustomed to supporting the weight of this season.
Fresh powder sometimes becomes a solid surface on which you can skate, slide, or stroll. I listen to the crisp sound of boots as the ice crunches under my feet. Last week, I wandered with my friend, Emily, and her children through a broad snow-blanketed field. We gasped and giggled with surprise when we discovered how deep it was! Her ecstatic, curious son stomped around with his sister. They were literally knee-deep in white wonder as I wrote “2018” with my gloved hand. One day, the sun beamed brightly yet the temperature was -20. Yes. Fahrenheit. Looks are deceiving.
The more it snowed, the sillier and giddier I became. Another afternoon I made snow angels and drew images everywhere we went. Animal paw prints formed linear, geometric patterns on the mountains and meadows. I admired the stunning contrast of birds, squirrels, and other creatures against the white canvas nature provided. And I shot many photos while enduring eye rolls and comments such as “Not again, Mom!”
Snowflakes also intrigue me. Each one is unique and intricate. They are similar to humans: Not a single, icy flake is the same. And each snow fall is different than the previous one. I’m also entranced by icicles clinging to pine needles and maple leaves. The clear, pointy wands that look like lucite dangle from buildings and are magical.
This winter has been unusually frigid. I have compassion for those who are without power and all the other mayhem caused by the season. Many of my loved ones live in the Midwest and Northeast. As I get older, I am developing a deeper appreciation for living in the South. But I am grateful for the moments, regardless of how bitter, I spend in colder climates.
The seasons are a metaphor for the human journey. Without sadness we would not know joy. Without suffering we would would not find gratitude for healing and resilience. And without the gloomy, miserable days, we wouldn’t as profoundly appreciate the sunnier ones.
I wish you warmth wherever you live. And I hope even during the darkest hours, you find rays of light in the clouds. They are there, if you choose to look for them.