I love snow. I love it literally and metaphorically.
I love watching it fall past the window. I love the way it makes sharp edges soft and square shapes round. I love the way the wind sculpts it into dunes that rise like soft meringue against the houses, the foothills created when the snowplow passes, rising against the tree trunks like little glaciers.
Snow is an adventure.
Snow is discovering that it is knee-deep between the porch steps and the hanging bird feeder and thinking, “I can do this.” And then I do. The feeders are filled, and I am shaking off snow just inside the back door, feeling flushed and shiny and oh so satisfied.
Snow is going to the store before the guys come to clear the driveway. It is discovering that long oven mitts are better than brushes at clearing off the windows. It’s gunning the car down the driveway in case the berm from the plow has iced up and then tapping at the brake on the turn when the car goes whee into the street. It’s fishtailing back up the drive and rolling into a perfect stop in the garage. It’s the grin on my face when I find I can still do that.
Snow is beating your way through the blizzard that has come on an icy wind until you reach the safety of the grocery store doors. It’s being puzzled that not everyone is as flushed with excitement as you are.
Snow is comforting. When the winds of November sweep the last leaves from the trees and beat the cold rain against your windows, you shiver as you look out upon the desolation that comes with the fading of the year. But when the first snow falls, it falls like feathers and surrounds the house with a white comforter that calls for hot chocolate and a good book on the couch with your grandmother’s afghan throw wrapped around your toes. Now, when you look out the window, you see that the snow has thrown a blanket over the earth, protecting it until the warm winds come again.
Snow is fun, too, but I am no longer young. I never got the hang of skis, but I had a pair of snowshoes I liked. I’ve camped in the snow. I’ve climbed above the treeline in snow. I remember making snow angels and having snowball fights when I was very young, and have an adorable picture of myself in a blue snowsuit, but I don't like cold. If snow has a downside, it’s the cold. The upside of that, of course, is that you can always get warm. Coming in out of the cold and getting warm is fun.
And how do I love snow metaphorically? Most of the metaphors I can think of are in the text above. Comforter, blanket, adventure. Snow covers a multitude of sins. Snow reveals the bare essence of things not noticed before. Snow is an invitation, a challenge, a promise. Snow seduces.
I am drawn to snow scenes on book covers, jigsaw puzzles, TV shows. Books I’ve read because: The Snow Queen, The Snowy Day, Snowcrash, Snow Falling on Cedars, The Snows of Kilimanjaro and, of course, Snow.
Snowy jigsaw puzzles are, um, difficult. But oddly comforting. Because.
I once watched a whole season of an unrenewed show called Low Winter Sun because it promised me snow. Also Lenny James, but nevermind. I’m currently watching Snowpiercer because. My heroes in A Song of Ice and Fire are all Starks from Winterfell because. Fargo, Fortitude, Northern Exposure. I do not watch Snowfall. Snow is great stuff. Cocaine is boring.
Currently my house is blanketed with more than two feet of snow. I hate to see it go. Back in Seattle, where we never got two feet, the rare snowfalls settle beautifully on trees and gardens for a day or so and then creep silently away in the night. In Wisconsin, my two or three feet get plowed into towering drifts of four, five, even six feet which, as no new snow falls, become covered with exhaust sporting, with evaporation and melting, delicate but somewhat sinister frills of black lace.
It's not even the end of February and we are having an early thaw but this will pass in a week or so. There’s still time for another big snowfall or two. I can only hope.