It fell last night, in fluffy flakes as big as your nose. Without as much as a waft of air to push and pull their tiny forms this way and that, they fell silently, nearly straight downward from the heavens to the earth below.
Snow has a curious effect on me. It sparks an innocent excitement, that as an adult, I sometimes forget I’m capable of. I watch it carefully, secretly wishing for it to snow and snow and snow some more. At night, I find myself unable to sleep undisturbed. It wakes me by the hour, bribing me to pull back the shades and see if it is continuing. I’ve become an expert at judging the pink tinged, bright yet dull light that sneaks into my bedroom at night, announcing the snow outside. I know the pink light that “tells” me it’s still snowing. But I have to look anyway. I’m worse than a child on Christmas Eve. Just the thought of millions and millions of sugary crystals being sprinkled from the sky, as if on one giant cookie of land, awakens my inner child and begs me to keep watch out my window, excited with hope of the unequivocal magic it may bring by morning.
I also love the muffled effect a good snow has on the world. It’s like the heavens have pushed the universal mute button, giving our ears and minds a chance to just be quiet. A moment of stilled peace, if only but a moment. We all know it’s only a matter of time before the plows push out of their garages and the quiet solitude and magic of a new snow is plowed to the side in dirty piles to facilitate everyday life again. But for a moment, it is serenely unaltered.
I drove along the pastures today with winter’s white snow upon them. There were herds of cattle gathered together, no doubt longing for summer’s tender green grass instead of the stale bale that would be churned out for them, leaving not even a sweet memory of sunny summer days in their mouths. I saw the other usual suspects as well. A group of retired, swayback horses. Their days of cattle herding, ditch jumping and cowboying were obviously long over, I knew from my neighbors that the one gray gelding of the group was now the granddaughter’s ride. Slowed with age, gentle with ailing joints, the grayish white horse had hung up his youthful dreams and trotted into a new, age-appropriate purpose.
But this morning, I caught him in a perfect moment where he forgot his age and reverted back to the innocent joy of a newborn foal. With snowflakes still floating in the air, he sank to his weary knees and haunches as if in praise of the white stuff that had fallen overnight. He rolled onto his back, twisting back and forth in joy, hooves kicking in the air with innocent abandon. It was the equine version of a snow angel. I wondered if he was sticking his tongue out trying to catch a few snowflakes at the same time. We were all glad it had finally snowed.
My nephew couldn’t help but fall on his knees in the snow too. And on his back. And on his tummy. Eating some of the white stuff here, spitting it out again there. At one point, he bent halfway over to take a bite right straight out of the snow bank that was nearly taller than him. I pictured him bending back up at this moment and declaring, “Look Ma! No hands!” with a mouthful of snow.
He too was called by a yard full of fresh, white newness. He fell onto his back, arms waving like juvenile angel wings, legs struggling to keep up with the frantic pace of his arms. Instead of a snow angel, it resembled more of an angel’s near fluttering to ground. Its breath warming and melting the form on the edges, but not heavy from landing. This angel didn’t touch down, but fluttered just above the pillow of downy snow, leaving but a feathery indentation, nothing more. Not even the shape of an angel remained, just the happy, fast footprints of a four year old overjoyed with the blank canvas of new snow.
I guess you could say it’s the simple things. Like the joys of fresh fallen snow. The glittery prism ignited when the sun finally peaks out again. The awesome magnitude of tiny flake upon tiny flake, joining together to magically transform the world. The blank canvas created in its wake, in those moments where nothing has yet altered its pure state. It remains just as it fell, when it floated silently to the earth upon crisp, frosty air.
The days of youth, innocence and purity can be pushed to the sides of the street like new snow, too. Remember the morning as a new sun rises over sparkling white snow and let us never forget to take a moment to relish the change it brings, the innocence it sparks and the magic it creates.