A bit late this year, but we are finally having the first all day and into next day snowfall. It started a bit too wet to enjoy, but now the flakes are plump and billowy as they fall out my window. I work from home and my desk is my dining room table in probably the most windowed spot in my house. I have a clear view of my backyard that has a million bulbs in spring, greenery and flowers in the summer and is rather blank and dead looking in the fall and winter unless there’s snow. This is the kind of storm where I know I’ll wake up in the morning and the snow will make everything so quiet that I’ll need to flick a light switch just to make sure the power is still on.
The first winter we lived in this house, we had record snow fall that year. I had older taller trees when I moved in, mostly dead from being ruthlessly paired back from the power lines they’d grown into. They were these huge firs that had a large circumference but that created a sort of hollow area underneath that you could walk under. I still remember tromping in knee deep snow on a moonlit night through the yard until we found the opening under the trees. About as close to Narnia as we will ever get. I will miss this house and our space around it so much when I move.
I grew up in various deserts, so I literally never saw snow fall or fresh snow until I went away to college in the mountains. I still remember coming out of the library on campus around midnight my freshman year and it had been snowing most of the 6 hours I’d been int he concrete bunker they lied to think of as a library. I trudged through the snow back to my dorm and fell in love. It was so quiet. I could hear muffled footfalls and people laughing and the mountains looming ot the east seemed so much larger with a heavy blanket of snow and stars and moon highlighting the peaks against the dark midnight sky. It was so peaceful. And it glistened … like what I had always assumed was just very bad special effects in movies1.
Shortly after that experience, it snowed one afternoon while I was in my dorm room, high up on the 7th floor. I remember looking out from my bed and wondering why it looked like it was snowing upwards until I figured out the drafts around the building. There’s just something about snow that makes me feel alone – in the best way. Like if I were to talk, I should whisper not to disturb the profound peacefulness around me.
There have been very few times in my life I’ve felt that same profound sense of my smallness in the grand scheme of time and space and that amount of peace. To be so deeply rooted in a moment that nothing else exists around it. Once I was rocking my daughter back to sleep in the middle of a cold winter night. She must have been about 9 or 10 months old. The house was still and the only sounds I could hear was the light creak of the rocking and her little puffs of breath. Another was standing on a beach in California on a windy, overcast, November day so focused on the roar of the waves and wind I hardly noticed being cold or wind-whipped.