Sunday, February 21, 2010


Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved the snow. She grew up in Minnesota, where there was plenty. When snow fell in buckets, in sheets, she cheered the arrival of the snowplow for its work creating large drifts, perfect for forts, which she built with her neighbors right into the dark, until mothers all around the cul-de-sac called children home for dinner.

Once, on Halloween, she did a snow dance, and only felt a little bad when the children arrived for their candy, their costumes obliterated by snowsuits.

The little girl grew up, went east. At school in Switzerland, she had roommates from South America who had never seen the snow. The look on their faces during the first snowfall made the girl appreciate what she had taken for granted. She thought she would always remember that joy. Then, a dozen years in New York City began to turn her relationship to snow. In the city, snow was dirty and sometimes pee-stained and rarely closed down transportation, but often slowed it to a crawl. It was an inconvenience. Cars parked on the street were impossible to move for opposite-side parking regulations. When it melted, it made rivers, fjords at street corners that were nearly impassable. Once, though, the girl remembers Brooklyn under the cover of so much snow that it was muffled completely, peaceful; something she could not imagine if she had not experienced it on the streets alone, walking for blocks down the middle of the always-busy road with all the cars and buildings slumbering under their snow blankets around her.

The grown-up girl had girls of her own, and they moved to Boulder, where heavy snowfall begins in October and continues to May, and there are often days--like today--where the world is peaceful and muffled by snow as on that one dream-like day in Brooklyn. The snow is clean enough for the littlest one to eat (and she does.) And when the girl takes her own girls sledding for the first time, and they speed down the hill with their hands dragging out into the snow, and their cheeks flush, she can see the sparkle of joy again, just like the South Americans.

And she remembers that snow is beautiful.


Anonymous said...

This brings back memories of snow forts on our dead end street - and a picture of one of us jumping off of the deck into a drift as tall as us! Thanks for the winter memory.

Melissa O’Shaughnessy said...

What a beautiful post. The nostalgia quite literally made me teary. Ain't the simple stuff grand?!

Anonymous said...

so sweet. it's been a super snowy winter in brooklyn with all the attendant hassles you mention. (and a few of those wonderfully hushed moments too.)
- jenna