Category Archives: Winter

Translating a Snowfall

I watched the snow fall, softly, a curtain of large flakes slowly drifting down to the ground. The white comforter it created—thicker than a simple blanket—covered everything in such a way that sharp edges disappeared, dulled out by the few inches that covered them. The snow effectively acted like a low-pass filter, attenuating the high frequencies of the scenery.

644004_434303479967595_29765190_n

I continued to watch from my front window for a while, then I took a look out back. Once more, the edges that could be seen only a few minutes ago had been dulled out; the gaps between the deck boards reduced to shallow curves barely perceptible in the gray light of the early morning. For a moment, the falling snow was transforming my familiar backyard into something new, different, almost surreal.

I scanned the whole view through the window and tried to follow individual snowflakes on their unique journey to the ground… and suddenly images of falling raindrops rushed to my mind… and I wondered if I could translate each flake into its corresponding drop, imagining this wintery scene turning into a warm summer shower. I could almost hear the sound of the rain as it hit the sunroom’s tin roof, the leaves on the trees, the blades of grass, and the wooden boards of the deck. I closed my eyes and could smell the rain…

556082_360099327388011_664863997_n

The snow hadn’t slowed when I opened my eyes; I ran outside to listen. Try as I may, I could not hear the sound of the falling snowflakes. In fact, the thick white blanket muffled every sound as it grew thicker. I opened my mouth and tried to catch snowflakes on my tongue, just as I did when I was a kid. Content, I walked back inside and closed the door.

Snowfall

 Flakes floating gently
Translated into raindrops
They melt on my tongue

Sharp, angular edges
Softened by thick, white blanket
Cold sound of silence

Childhood memories
Rekindled by a snowfall
Frosty eyelashes

Waxing crescent moon
Basket in the evening air
Set to catch Venus

Advertisements

March

DSC_0452

Few of us are impervious to the bone-chilling cold that often envelops our world, at such northerly latitudes (I live at 50 degrees North, on the Canadian Prairies), in the deep of winter.

However, we dress up, fall in, line up, and march on. Head held high, we persevere. It is what we do. We are who we are. We know…

Spring is just around the corner. This simple thought brings a smile to my face.

 

 

 

Days Grow Longer

There were days I loved the snow, and the cold–no I don’t think I ever loved the cold–of winter. Of course, memory has this way of playing tricks with one’s mind; embellishing the not-so-glamorous parts, or darkening the somewhat ordinary moments.

As children, we waited at the door, like thoroughbreds at the gate, mere inches and moments from the freedom to bolt, while mom wrapped and tied itchy woollen scarves around our heads and over the hoods of our snowsuits. Temperature mattered not when fresh snowbanks awaited. Anticipation! Action!

165051_128709840526962_5403872_n

I still recall the blinding reflection of the sun on the snow as I stepped outside, which made me sneeze, and the first breath of cold air that tasted like the wool of my musty old scarf, which made me cough. My feet barely touched the front landing. In an instant, I found myself waist-deep in the fluffy stuff, thrashing about, struggling to hoist my small body to the surface, every move sending me a little deeper in the snow and further from the house. I always imagined this was what quicksands would feel like… just worse.

Eventually, the scarf loosens, exposing cheeks and nose to the biting wind. On we played… I don’t think we talked much when playing in the snow, only screamed, and laughed, and cried, but mostly screamed. The snow on our faces melted and mixed with what flowed from our runny noses, creating this ever-present salty taste on our lips; the once warm and comforting scarf on our mouth now icy, heavy and inconvenient.

The fun and games would continue until our toes or fingers got too cold, or mom called us in. Usually the latter. Mom always seemed to know when it was time. The frosty adventure lasted maybe an hour, just as the pain and tingling of our thawing appendages would. Scarves, mittens, toques, and boots were put dry during that time. Lunch and hot chocolate were followed by a nap before everything began again until such a time when the children grew up.

Thr167039_128709693860310_4445209_nashing about in the snow–although at times still entertaining–eventually took a back seat to hockey: street hockey, pond hockey, and skating. Bright winter days when dad was home were the best. On those days, I considered my dad a kid, just like us. “Do you kids want to…” Yes! We never let him finish; we knew he meant to take us skating on the ponds by the track behind his Esso service station. He would load the snowblower in the back of his “petit bus” (what we called my dad’s steel blue Ford van). He also loaded a few shovels, our hockey sticks and a good supply of hockey pucks. If you’ve played pond or street hockey, you know that pucks seemed to vanish once they left the playing surface and entered the snow.

Those days are gone. I still enjoy bright sunshine on white fluffy snow, yet I think of winter as mostly a succession of long nights and short cold days, only interrupted by brief moments of activity (sometimes excitement) when the courage to step outside outweighs the inertia of hibernation. Winter is the assailant that knocks me down, and instead of fighting back, I turtle, I roll into a ball, waiting for the beating to end or to finish me for good. Every once in a while I lash back at the frigid season, only managing to touch innocent bystanders. Snap out of it! Go outside! Get some fresh air!

Days grow longer; the sun’s rays warmer. Just in time. Always. Thankfully.