04 February 2011

the light of the snow

What a massive snow, although massive is the wrong word. Massive implies so much brute force, and while the snow did carry much force—enough to stop a city of Big Shoulders—its force is, to me, more gentle.

Snow has force simply because it changes how we see our world.

It makes us sit down and take note.

It draws attention to itself just by being.

Look at how it piled on top of the dumpster, usually such a dull, everyday object I don't think much about. {Why would I think much about trash?}

Look at the ridge of snow outside the library entrance, a sharp angle of snow that is a small mountain chain. The endless peaks.

Look at the path carved into the snow. Look where someone ran through the thigh-deep snow, jumping with chutzpah into the frozen life. I get a little upset with them, whoever they were, for ruining the pristine white, the unbroken newness, but I can't blame them. I perhaps would've done the same thing.

Look at the light.

The whole world is blue in the early morning. A blue-gray, but not in a dull way, a mundane way, as gray normally implies.

The blue of a snowed-in morning glows from the ground up.

The snow is a blanket, and the world is cozy.

I know that's a commonly-known concept—the blanket of snow thing—but it's the early morning light that lets you see how true it is and how someone could think, even when it's 20 below, 'The snow is a blanket.'

Not that you'd want to cuddle up in it, oh no, but the early morning light makes you feel warmer and safer inside, looking out at the infused blue-gray world.

And then there is the afternoon sun. High. Clear. Hard-edged.

And that's when you see the diamonds in the snow, the sharpness of it.

The world is no longer gentle, but it's still inviting.

You step outside in five layers, inner braces for the cold that must be there to sustain such snow, and find it's not as cold as you thought.

Oh, sure, you can still see your breath, but the cold isn't crippling so much as invigorating and inspiring, and you start to feel the draw of winter sports, if only they didn't require so much bulky equipment.

The transformation periods of light are pivotal, too, and even though I perhaps shouldn't, I feel bad for people who don't get to see and know and be in that late afternoon winter sun.

People in California and Florida have beautiful, warm lives, I'm sure, but I wish they could be outside just once with a snow drift taller than they are, shoveling their driveway, and pausing, scoop of snow in the air, to sigh at the golden, clear light. The light sings at that late afternoon moment, and I want them to sigh in joy at it.

At their lengthening shadow.

At the bare trees, black veins against the yellow sky.

I wish people in California or Florida could know the sense of beauty and urgency this late afternoon sun brings, standing there with frozen fingertips but sweating under your parka.

Night is coming, hurry, hurry. There's chili or soup or casserole to be eaten in a warm kitchen, a quiet beacon surrounded by black darkness. The snow is obliterated by the dark.

Until the moon comes out and then the snow really shines.

1 comment:

  1. Being a person from both Florida and California, I can tell you for a fact that I do not miss standing next to snow drifts that are as tall as me. I do miss that very pretty morning part though where the whole world is covered and quiet. That part was lovely. As long as I didn't have to go outside in it.



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