The advent of the season’s first snow, cradled in steel-gray clouds about to make its descent, is when I most remember my childhood in northeast Ohio. Our snow season was long, beginning in late October and ending in April. Maybe. During those snow-laden days, I would sit in an over stuffed chair and gaze out of my bedroom window at a true winter wonderland: a tree-lined street dotted with small white clapboard houses, each reflecting soft lights and warmth within. And, beyond that tiny enclave of domesticity lay dark, thick woods punctuated here and there with the cleared land of small farms.
I bundled up when the inches climbed to a foot or two and ventured outside to make snow angels. It was then that I heard, and still do, the sound of snow. It is quiet, subtle, soothing and creates a touch of magic. Falling snow gently burdens the limbs of trees, sketching outlines of ordinary things normally overlooked: telephone wires stretching the length of a street or a lone country road, the remains of a rock wall that once bordered a garden or stood as a marker to divide one farm from the other, the trim on an old cape house in a small New England village, or the cupola on a horse barn.
It was the mystery of the snow in the dark woods behind my house that called to me. With my childlike wonder, I would imagine all sorts of stories and fantasies: magical faeries and wizards, mystical white kindly wolves with emerald green eyes, and small furry creatures who could talk to me and I to them. And, I confess, I still believe these things when I relive those times as the sound of snow envelops me and there is nothing to disrupt this sacred, almost-silent, time and space – the ever so soft snow falling on all that I can see and not see.
My eye has always seen patterns, auras, and language in nature. Simple stalks of remnant weeds emerging from two feet of snow, tell me a story, radiate an aura, create a vision not necessarily obvious but nevertheless ever present.
More snow storms will surely arrive . Yet, there is that wondrous thrill of the first big snow of the season. Our hearts beat with excitement and for a brief while we are childlike again with huge round eyes conjuring all sorts of imaginations and journeys in our inner-life that nourish our soul.
“The only grace you can have is what you can imagine. If you cannot see it, then you will not have it.”
(Excerpted from Tony Morrison’s “Beloved”)
B L E S S E D B E.