The Silence of Snow

27 Feb

When I was a little girl and my family would travel to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving or Christmas, I would always pray for snow. Sometimes I was obliged and would marvel at the way the white flakes began to dust everything like powered sugar. We would even go ice skating on the lake which fed about every girly fantasy I had from living in a Currier and Ives painting to being Dorothy Hamil and winning Olympic gold.

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The only time I’ve lived in a snowy climate was in New York both in and near NYC. The day I arrived it began to snow and proceeded to for three days straight. The newscasters called it the blizzard of 1996. My mother had made a suicide attempt a few days prior. That first night I slept ten hours. When I awoke I looked out the window and saw that snow enveloped the yard like thick icing on an enormous white cake. I continued to sleep ten hours a night for weeks on end. During the days I would write and then go for long walks in the bitter cold, comforted by the still quiet the snow created. While snow brings eventual slush and mud, for me it has always brought hibernation and peace.

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It began to snow yesterday. I am on a work trip teaching in the Midwest. And once again I felt my soul secretly delight, knowing that the visual landscape reflects a microcosm of my tendencies towards introversion and stillness. Inclimate weather gives us all permission to go within; to reflect; to stay home and read; or to simply crawl under the covers and rest. In today’s rushed fast paced world, I welcome that.

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When you live in a climate where everything is a riot of sunshine and color, I welcome the contrast.

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And when it really snows, the ensuing quiet is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. The silence of snow is profound.

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