30 December 2010

Going with the Snowing

One day -- probably about February -- I'll look back on my currently snow-smitten self and laugh at the silly boy who was so giddy during the first weeks of his first real northern winter in 33 years. But for now, I can't seem to get enough of the white stuff.

Yesterday, I wrapped up snug (magic word: layers) and ventured cozy and dry into the crunchy, swishing white-out that was my world just then. Tiny doilies laced with cold diamonds floated onto my face. Every sound was dampened -- the train whistle, Romeo's lonely barking, the rustle of leaves that probably meant deer rushing down the hill. Looking down at my buried boots I saw only featureless white; looking up, white; everywhere white with no edges. Friends and family have sometimes said that I live with my head in the clouds. Today there was no denying it as low clouds enveloped the falling snow.

Other days the snow flakes are vivid flecks against clear blue sky, with the Alps a distant backdrop.

Is it true that Alaskan natives have many words for different kinds of snow? I don't doubt it. But I doubt they have a word for the beauty of snow on the rooftops of a medieval Swiss chateau.

Why does snow taste so different from water?

I hope I never lose my fascination with snow. Maybe I won't. After all, I lived in a rainforest for seven years, and still love the many kinds of rain that fall on the tree ferns.

But it's sure not raining now, so I'm going outside.

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