snow, when it’s still white
i know. i know. it’s a little raucous out there. a bit like walking into a bowl of vichyssoise, whirring.
and once the world rustles from its dumbfounded look out the window, slams on the snow boots, trudges to the car, or the train, or the bus, it’ll all be so much blkkh. that gray-black mess of crusted-over car dirt, tire rub, city street, all tossed together, tumbled. left to leave us thinking this snow thing is a terrible nuisance, a blight upon the trek to wherever we have to be. end of story.
only this is not about that. this is about snow before the blkkh.
this is about snow when it’s still white. when it’s still.
this is about slipping into your mukluks, and giving snow the due it deserves: step out and just stand there. go nowhere, really. meander aimlessly. pretend its moon dust and tromp through it. crane your neck, watch it swirl toward you.
then do this: drink it in. listen to the snow sound. then listen more closely still, listen with your soul.
the snow, i am convinced, is God’s way of putting finger to lips, pursing, whispering, “shhhhhh.”
snow, if you listen, speaks loudly. but only in a way that the soul is equipped to hear. the snow is telling us to slow. to behold. behold wonder. behold mystery.
behold the miracle of mere air and water and the cold of a cloud, coming together, falling down. tumbling. a 15-minute ride from the sky to the tip of our tongue, if we, like a child, try to catch it. scientists clocked that. i’m not making it up. some day soon we will consider the universe of each little snowflake. apparently, it’s a sport. watching snowflakes. i’ve got a book, right here on my desk, a field guide to snowflakes, and it says so, likens it to bird watching, only colder.
but today is about the blanket of white, the blanket of quiet. the blanket shaken before us, every intricacy of every limb and twig and pine needle shrouded in, swaddled in, white.
to go out in it, to crouch under the bough of a tree, to watch it come down, down onto your eyelash, is to be filled, once again, with the mystery of the heavens coming down to our midst. intermingling, the divine and the utterly earthly.
maybe that’s why young children thrust themselves into it, onto it, prostrate, making snow angels. maybe they understand in a way we forget when we’ve had too many snows under our boots. maybe they sense the godliness in each six-sided flake. if you could dive into the celestial, wouldn’t you want to rub your arms and your legs, your whole being, through the thick of it? once again, look to the children.
albert einstein, a guy smart like the children, wrote this in 1930, in a paper titled, “what i believe:”
“the most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. it is the source of all true art and science. he to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”
open your eyes, my friends. open your eyes. the snow, falling all around us, is begging us to drink in, to taste, to behold the mysterious. to realize, in one single snowflake, we hold onto the infinite. in a whole world of snowflakes, the infinite holds onto us.
if we open our eyes…
tell a snow story. tell a tale of beholding the wonder of the world of snow when it’s still white. or, if you must, spit it out. tell us how the blkkh got in your way, made you mad. made you sputter. then, once you spew here at the table, you might feel all better. might then be able to slip on your muks, step out the door, sink into the wonder…..
Waking to snow makes me so happy. I am from Minnesota and Minnesotans grow up knowing how to dress for this kind of weather–to be out in it for hours and feel joyful inside. What usually happens on days like today in Chicago is that I don my trusty old Minnesota winter hat–a black furry football helmet with a magnetic clasped chin strap (My husband nicknamed the hat “The Snapper”) that I have had since 6th grade (I am now 53), my light-weight but bulky snow white down parka that zips and snaps, and my Ugg Boots (that I owned for years before they were popular because they were WARM) and I will trudge to work. When I get there, I will be greeted by the Argentine woman who works down the hall who got her PhD in Minnesota years ago and who HATES the snow and cold. She will take one look at me and grin from ear to ear and say, “Look at how Happy you are today in this Minnesota Weather!” And, she is right, I am!
Tuesday, February 13, 2007 – 09:02 AM
hunkerin down for our nor’easter due here tonight and not to let up until Thursday sometime…may mean a snow day or two which makes one feel like a kid again! Snow angels, tobaggans, hot chocolate with marshamallows anyone?
Tuesday, February 13, 2007 – 10:04 AM
My little one asked for snow ice cream this afternoon, so we just made a lovely big bowl of chocolate. The yummy stuff was much too cold to eat in spoonfuls out of a bowl.
I love, love, love snow; however I am about to dig my car out for the third time today and that is wearing just a little thin. I’ll have to revive myself with some more snow ice cream when the digging’s all done, everyone’s home, and we’re all snug for the evening.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007 – 02:57 PM
We moved to the high country of Arizona from the palm tree population of the Valley of the Sun (the Phoenix area for those not familiar with the landscape here) so we could see the four seasons, something I wanted my children to experience. During our first Christmas season in our new home, our youngest daughter (then not quite 3) landed in the hospital, but on Christmas Eve, like two gifts wrapped up into one, she was home and the snow fell. My girls woke up to the most glorious sight on Christmas morning and I’ll never forget it because the picture outside of the window caught more attention than the gifts under the tree.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007 – 03:12 PM
There was much rejoicing in our house this morning. Snow Day!! All 5 of us got to stay home from school. (The 2 grown-ups work in schools and the kids go to 3 different schools.) The stars were aligned just right. How else could 4 schools have a snow day on the same day? Its never happened before. We celebrated with cinnamon pancakes and bacon for breakfast and then baked our traditional Valentine brownies and chocolate chip cookies too. And then the youngest chef in the clan created a new cookie with more chocolate and peanut butter. What a fabulous bonus day!
Tuesday, February 13, 2007 – 05:49 PM