Thursday, December 21, 2017

Snow Magic

Last week the landscape turned solidly to white. It was good for the winter-lover’s soul. The timing even works for the folks (you know who you are) who only like snow for Christmas. Like holiday magic, snow in December covers the starkness of November with glittering brightness.

Trees that dropped their leaves months ago and had seemed simply bare became graceful, the twists and spread of their limbs outlined in a layer of crisp white. Evergreens, their branches drooping gently under a perfect layer of snow, now resemble the frosted trees of a gingerbread house village. The field that before looked cold and dull sparkles white in winter sunlight, a glimmering sea of tiny crystal reflections.

Snow makes the mountains glow. It magnifies moonlight. It amplifies quiet. It inspires joy and creativity in children – and the young at heart. (Trust me, snow-haters, it’s much more fun to go play in the snow than to grumble about it.)

The day it snowed the most last week I had two kids home sick from school. All day they lay on the couch, not wanting to move or eat. Outside, the snow sifted steadily from a gray sky, the white piling up to six inches or more. Late in the afternoon, they could bear it no longer. When the boy child arrived home from school, the girls pulled on snow pants and boots, left the coziness of inside for the chill of out. They rolled snow into huge balls and started forming a snow fort. They shoveled and piled and tossed snowballs toward the dog when her wild antics threatened to ruin the rising frozen fortress.

Over the weekend, after a full day of skiing through new snow, back out the kids went, over to the big hill at their grandparents’ house around the corner. They sledded until it was dark, and then kept going. They shaped snow into start ramps at the top of the hill and, further down, built jumps to fly off. They made endless trudging trips up the hill for the repeat joy of flying back down.

Partly, I know, this full-on love of snow is because it’s early in the winter. Snow in December seems a bit like a novelty in this new season. It’s like the first flower blooming in spring, the first hot day and cool dip in the river of summer, the first perfectly crisp morning of autumn.

“Nothing gold can stay,” the sage Robert Frost once wrote. And nothing white, either. We are embracing the season, wrapped up in the magic of snow while it lasts, twinkling in the moonlight and sparkling in the sun and lining the paths through the woods in perfect, delicate white. 

Original content by Meghan McCarthy McPhaul, posted to her blog, Writings From a Full Life. This essay also appears as Meghan's Close to Home column in the December 22, 2017 issue of the Littleton Record.

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