Thursday, December 10, 2009

The First Snow—It's A Mystery to Me

What is it about the first snow of the season that makes people happy? I realize it doesn't have the same effect on everyone and that some people find it depressing, but I love seeing the first snow. And friends on Facebook are saying things like "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas," and they are expressing disappointment in the mere dusting that fell on middle Ohio overnight. Those people want a full dumping of snow so they can ski or at least not see the grass underneath.

I have seen 47 first snows, but still each one is a treat. It's like the first day you notice the crocuses in spring or the first day the pool is open in the summer or the first day when the trees show off their fall colors. You know it happens every year, but a whole year has gone by since you last saw the thing.

I usually find the passage of time pretty depressing. As it ticks on, it's too easy to dwell on what you haven't got or given and what you haven't done and what little time is left to get, to give and to do. But when it comes to the seasons, there seems to be some sort of reassurance in the continuity. A lot of good and bad can happen in one year, but the world still turns as it always has, and winter brings snow, the same kind of snow I knew as a child when time moved much more slowly.

I get the same feeling of reassurance when I see the big dipper in the sky in June. It hangs directly over my house during the summer year after year after year. And it held that spot hundreds of thousands of years ago. And I have no reason to believe it won't be there next year or the next.

Well, so maybe the happiness the first snow brings to some of us isn't such a mystery after all. It's just part of a giant perpetual calendar, but instead of offering a platitude or funny quote, it gives steadiness mixed with some nostalgia and a little promise.


kyle@sift said...

I love the first snow...and all the snows that follow. Winter is's cold. It's expensive. It's inconvenient. It's beautiful.

Shan said...

Ahhh. So true so true. :)

dive said...

You guys are crazy. Snow sucks so totally. It belongs in silly places like Canada and Siberia.
You're welcome to it if you enjoy it, Robyn, but keep the darned stuff away from me.

Miz Minka said...

Beautifully written, Robyn -- very well said! I have only seen ten or so first snows out of my 47 years; still miss them. There's nothing quite as magical as waking up to that hushed quiet after it snowed overnight, or that certain cast to the sky and feeling in the air just before it begins to snow. Thanks for stirring up a whole lot of wonderful childhood memories.

Shannon and Paul said...

We are on our 12th snow this year, I think... it snowed from Sunday morning until Tuesday noontime.

The front wall of our church, behind the pulpit, is a beautiful large window that reveals a wooded area and gives a peek at Cheyenne Mountain. It was snowing in a way on Sunday morning that made me think...this looks like a postcard from the wizarding world. Mostly still but whirling flakes.

Eric said...

Read "The Onset" by Robert Frost.

Scout said...

"...and with a song
It shall not make again
all winter long
Of hissing on the yet
uncovered ground." Lovely, Eric. Thanks.

MmeBenaut said...

Lucky, lucky girl.

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