Sunday, December 10, 2017 —Yesterday came cold and blustery. Flurries of Christmas shoppers arrived at the store where I work, and I felt good to be out among the people and greet them. Children, their animation electrified, anticipated Santa Claus’s coming to town.
It began to snow. The purity of the white is centering. Snow falling is quiet, peaceful. I think I will decorate for Christmas this year simply with only a few greens and bows and candlelight. It will be a quiet observance, the halls of my home dressed in a raiment of soft, warm light.
It is Sunday. The bell in the little Episcopal church across the street rang this morning, as it does every Sunday. It is a real bell, in the steeple, that somebody rings. This little historic church recalls all the chapels in all the English villages, meadows and dales that I see in all the British dramas I watch. They don’t ring the bell long in this Episcopal church – eight times for the eight o’clock service and ten for the ten o’clock service.
One Sunday morning, I was walking in front of the Methodist church down the street when suddenly the bell tolled. I rose several feet off the sidewalk and I suspect not lifted on angel wings. In fact, I exclaimed, “Holy [expletive].” This is a real bell, too, and apparently a good sized one; it is loud, and it goes on ringing for eons. It’s a big church and the congregation continues arriving for ages.
Snowflakes alight briefly in flurries or waltz in endless patterns bending, swirling, reaching and touching everything all the dull gray day and into the deep blue night, well beyond three o’clock in the morning.
Prose arabesques from the pens of writers ornament the characteristics and romance of snowflakes. Each snowflake is uniquely shaped. The flakes fall softly, individually, in pairs and in gatherings. Yet they all come from the same source and are composed of the same matter. Snowflakes have a mission: they fall out of the clouds and they land on black slick streets, red-brick sidewalks, brown winter grass, mounds of dried leaves blown into corners of flower beds and on the bare dogwood branches outside my window. Sometimes the snowflakes melt on contact, sometimes they pile up. And then everything turns white. Watching them fall, we become quiet, meditative, nostalgic, always a little awestruck. We watch snow fall with anticipation: snowfall shatters our routines, like a snowball walloped against the surface of a frozen pond, makes us turn to something new, view life with a fresh perspective. Sometimes each snowflake makes a light ticking sound as it touches down. The birds get quiet when it snows. I watch the squirrels and the birds and I can predict the weather. The squirrels bustle gathering nuts in advance of the coming cold. Birds flock and chatter and then get quiet. Birds have different songs for different types of weather and different times of day. They have their cheery morning song, their spring song for temperatures mounting on soft southern breezes; they have their evensong.
Mothers bring their young children outside to witness the first snowfall of the season. I observe one child extend her arm to watch the snow accumulate in her pink mittened palm.
I like driving in a car when it is snowing. I love being in the magic of the snow flying at me, the cypress and cedars and oaks lining the road, their branches laden with snow, the padding of the car tires on the snow, the few other cars on the road all traveling slowly as in a dream, and the tire tracks of an unseen car gone before me.
Snow fulfills its own purpose. Snow comes softly; it piles on tree limbs, bushes, holly berries and cars. Snow comes softly, like a gentle soul, filling in the footprints on our paths. It stays for a while, and then it is gone.
I love snow, but it seems like it’s becoming more and more rare where I am in Sweden, if you can believe it. Your post almost reads like a prayer for me, one that I can whisper to myself in the hopes of seeing more snow.
I’ll send you some snow, Sara. 😉 Temps have been below freezing here in Delaware, until yesterday, for two weeks. Our two or three inches of snow didn’t melt. People’s pipes froze and broke. I could use some advice on how to live in a cold climate (especially after living 30 years in Redondo Bch., where it was 72 and sunny year round). Ehh. But, truly, the snow is beautiful. I love watching it fall, so serene. I believe it is also good for my writing when I’m kept inside and at my computer on a snowy day.
So glad you came by. Good hearing from you.
We finally have some snow here, so your sending snow must have worked! 😉 I don’t really have any advice for cold living other than dress warmly! I believe there’s a saying here in Sweden to the effect of, “There’s no such thing as bad weather.” Meaning, when properly dressed, one can withstand whatever the weather decides to do. Obviously, hurricanes aren’t a problem here, heh.
Re your advice for cold living, I do have a jacket that’s amazing warm and I do dress in layers; yet, after two weeks of below freezing temps, that was enough for me. The hardest part is heating my house. It’s a Victorian, not a big one, but uses heating oil and that’s expensive. That’s when I want to go home to SoCal, to Redondo, where it’s 72 and sunny year round. Yes, we do have to be concerned about the occasional hurricane here in Delaware, and a month or so ago we even had an earthquake — 4.2, so just a brief little jolt, but most unusual for this region — just a sort of California memento, I guess.
How sweet, Sara. Thank you. I’m glad you have snow now. It’s snowing here today, flurries, ground too warm for it to lay, but it’s nice to watch the flakes dance on the wind. 🙂
Hi Sam – I thought you were in Sweden … but having looked at the Opera House site – I see not. There was a lot of snow on the east coast and I saw they had snow in Europe … being here now – it’s on the mountains (very little here in Vancouver Island) … I await a first proper fall.
What a wonderful place to work … cheers Hilary
Hi Hilary — Yes, I do have a wonderful place to work — at my window watching snowfall in the winter and at other seasons the North American dogwood outside this same window give birth to blossoms deep and white as snow, then green leaf, then red berries for the migrating birds to gorge on, and then the leaves turn vermillion before they fall.
Normally we don’t have that much snow here in the Mid-Atlantic states — some winters it gets deep once or twice, most winters some dustings and a few six inchers.
You are on Vancouver Island? When did that happen? How did I miss that move? I thought you were in England. I lived in Southern California for 30 years, so can appreciate seeing the snow on the mountains. It is beautiful. Cheers and Merry Christmas!
Beautiful. There is nothing like soft, beautiful snow falling from the sky. The quietude all around, the joy. You describe the snowflakes dance so well, I can visualize it.
Some of my best childhood memories centered around those long-ago snowy days. I remember going out for a bit to play, but mostly watching it out the window, especially at night, when everything looked blue and felt perfect.
Have a good time decorating, Samantha, and Merry Christmas!
I can just imagine the snow falling in Romania, Silvia. It must be beautiful, snowfall in that beautiful country. Well, I know you can go up to the mountains there in SoCal to experience the snow, as you have. I’ve experienced some magical moments up there and up in Mammoth. I love your image “watching it out the window, especially at night, when everything looked blue and felt perfect.”
Peace to you and your family, and Merry Christmas!
p.s. it was on my FB – and I checked that I din’t receive it via email … I thought I was subscribed to receive emails from schehezerade chronicles but apparently not, but now I AM … I entered into the subscribe …
this is so lovely Samantha! Snowflakes with a mission! I agree with R that you’ve captured the magical essence of snow. I loved how you say about the activity that goes on while the snow falls softly.
And those bells … whose sound captures a timelessness (even though you were almost lifted up off your feet – your angel wings helped you land softly).
We seldom experience snow here where I live, though in other parts of SA they get their fair majestic share.
Thank you, I loved this post. I almost lost it (your post) buried as it was under the snow but I’m glad I found it.
So kind of you to stop by and comment, Susan. You’re like one of those softly falling snowflakes, always thoughtful of others. I know what you mean about emails getting buried. It’s a constant with me. I have to dig out the special ones. And, hopefully, one of these days I’ll catch up. Thanks, too, for sharing the link to my post on your Facebook page. Much appreciated.
You have magically captured the magical sense of snow. The insulation and quietness of snow warms and rouses my spirit, so does what you have written.
Your magical comment insulates and warms me and rouses me to reply, thank you ever so much!
Oh this is so lovely, Samantha. I felt that I was right there experiencing the snow with you. However, the good news is that I’m sitting here in the warmth of our apartment, not out wandering around in your snow. Enjoy.
Have fun decorating for Christmas. I only have thrown out a couple of decorations, nothing exciting. I’m sending you the LOVE OF THE SEASON!!
I WAS out wandering around in the snowfall, Gwynn — to and from work. Nice, because it didn’t lay, except on the grass and tree limbs and they don’t require shoveling. My decorations will be much like yours this year. I did decorate the Opera House, though — eight of us decorated four trees, the balcony and hung a couple wreaths. I’m glad there were eight of us. A short video of our work is on the Smyrna (Del.) Opera House Facebook page. I’m so glad you came by and commented. Thank you. The love of the season to you, too. Wishing you glad tidings and great joy. <3