Sunday, March 1, 2009

SNOW!

I had given up on snow. I reluctantly and very painfully came to the conclusion that snow, real piling up on roads and trees and roofs snow, in Richmond had gone the way of the dinosaur or the poor, sad dodo bird. It was just gone, extinct, poof, only a memory.

But tonight my faith was reaffirmed. On this day, March 1st, out of the blue, snow decided to return to my life. And I can't stop staring at it. I could stand at a window and watch snow for hours. I can't get enough of it. I want to gorge myself on the image of white upon white upon white, the soft, twirling flakes dancing their way to the ground. I want to fill myself up with the look of the night sky when it snows, how it somehow makes it light out, how the white of the sky and the white of the ground soak up all the darkness and turn it into a new version of night. I could watch forever the branches of the trees bending under the weight of the snow or the cars on the street made irrationally beautiful.

Fear of frostbite, hypothermia and possibly arrest are the only things keeping me from plopping down on the sidewalk outside my house and just staying there all night, staring up at that swirling, gray sky. I couldn't resist walking around the neighborhood earlier, despite the fact that I have absolutely zero cold weather gear and ended up wearing tennis shoes with holes in their soles (this is on purpose, they're designed for being in hot, wet places-just not cold, wet places) and a coat that was too thin and a scarf that got soaked. But I couldn't make myself go inside. It's always been like this. You see, snow and me, we have a connection. Snow, even little nothing flurries, does something to the very inside of my soul. It makes me feel like a joyful child with nothing in the world to worry about, but it also makes me feel at peace. It gives me a calm and serenity that my age has not yet earned.

When I was little I used to wake up before everyone else in the house on days that it snowed. I would go downstairs in my pajamas, throw a coat and some boots on, and walk outside. And then I'd just stand. I'd stand there and watch the world around my house, the world that I'd seen for days and months and years but which was somehow so new in that moment. I hated to think that later in the day everyone would walk around (myself included) and ruin the perfect image in front of me. Because it really was perfect, in a way that nothing else in life really is. And trust me, perfection is overrated. Flaws and bumps and bruises are really what makes up a life. But maybe we just need that one thing that is actually perfect, that one thing that can't be changed or broken or taken away, and for me that has always been snow. And it made everything else perfect too, if only for those few hours or days before it melted. It made things like playing a videogame with a mug of hot chocolate perfect. It made a simple walk up the driveway to get the mail perfect. It made life beautiful in a way it rarely is, an I can offer no better reason for why I've always loved it, why the lack of snow in my life these last five years hasn't just been an irritation, but a major loss.

And then tonight, there it was, this thing my soul has been aching for. And it was everything I remembered and more. It's not going to be the blizzard of the century. It may melt by Tuesday. But right now I can walk onto my front porch and just stand, the way I did when I was little. And it's exactly the same. The world in front of me may be urban instead of rural now. My grandparents are no longer in the little red guest house just across the yard. There isn't a hill to sled down or a pond to ice skate on or the wonder that is an unexpected day off from school. But it's still perfect. I can still feast on that distinct, gorgeous silence that is the sound of snow falling. I can still watch it for hours and never get bored. It's snow. It makes my heart sing. It makes me the kind of person who can say things like "it makes my heart sing" without embarassment or irony.

It's snow. And for tonight, wonderously, it's in my life again.

3 comments:

Jeff Tompkins said...

I feel the same way about snow. Tonight I have found myself several times acting like a little kid, going to the window to see if there are any snowflakes falling, illuminated by the porch light. Sadly, no, not here in Mount Pleasant. My disappointment is eclipsed only by my jealousy, as I have found out tonight that some of my friends in NC, where I grew up, can look out their windows and see snow. I knew there must have been a good reason not to leave Raleigh....

liz ramsay said...

Aww, the only thing about Charleston that I really disliked when I lived there was the lack of snow. If it could snow there on a regular basis it would just be the most perfect place on earth I think. But you never know, maybe y'all will get a freak snowfall sometime soon, and there will be some snowflakes falling in Mt. Pleasant.

Laura said...

The second I saw snow, I knew you'd be the happiest kid in America.

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