Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Snow on Passover

I woke up yesterday to a world gone suddenly monochrome as snow fell on the day before Passover Eve, on the first day of Spring Break for the local children.Whites and blacks and shades of grey defined the world in the early morning light. There was a surreal, dislocated confusion to seeing budding trees with puffballs of fluffy snow instead of blossoms. I brushed snow from my car and prepared for my commute, wishing the snow was enough to keep me home. Beauty in winter is a thing of stark contrast and delicate form, of stillness and hush rather than color and motion. I admired the filigree of the brush on the side of the road, which most days blurs into invisibility, as I drove up the highway.

Most of the time, if you asked me, I would tell you I hate snow. I hate feeling either cold and wet or weighed down with bulky, unattractive waterproof clothing. I hate scraping snow off my car and shoveling it off my sidewalks and driveway. I hate driving to work over slippery streets and walking over icy sidewalks. I hate having to get up 30 minutes early to account for the time all of this takes so I can still arrive on time. But like most things in life, it’s more complicated than that. I do love the beauty of swirling snowflakes, the intricate forms landing on my windshield for a brief moment before melting away in the heat of the defroster. I do love the intricate  shapes of trees, so much more visible than they ever are without the delineation of snow. I do love the coziness of sitting inside with an afghan and a mug of hot chocolate watching the snow fall outside. I do love the sense of peace and hush that temporarily quiets our noise.

I remember being a child and loving playing in the snow, making snow angels and tiny snowmen with the scant snow that fell in my southern hometown. I remember snow days and the joy of an unexpected gift of a day spreading out before you with no responsibilities. Even as a young child I can remember loving the smooth pristine whiteness of early morning snow, before any footsteps broke the expanse. I didn’t begin to hate snow until college, when I became an adult, when my world no longer stopped for a snowfall. When snow just meant additional stress and hassle to accomplish the work I was already planning to do. When snow represented an extra burden in an already overcrowded life. Perhaps I don’t really hate snow. Perhaps I just miss the freedom of childhood to revel in snow and take a break from everyday life.