Someone once asked me to describe to them what snow was like. I’ve had a lot of experience with snow, but I’ve never had to describe how it feels before. As summer fades to fall, I find myself snuggling up in oversized sweaters and clutching massive cups of tea. I am steeply nostalgic for snow, so here we go:
Pure, white, innocence
Your nose is pressed against the window, peeling your nostrils upwards like a pig. Your breath forms condensed circles of fog, simple snowflakes against the glass. The imitation isn’t enough, you need to feel the real thing. You can’t wait any longer. You struggle into your snowsuit and rush outside into a world of white.
Big, white, incandescent bulbs of fresh sugar fall from the sky, translucent in the sunlight. They spiral and cascade in waves, the winter wind guiding them along her haunches into overflowing piles. Overturned pottery bowls laced with white flour, mounds that you roll over like fresh dough, like the chocolate chip cookies Mama put in the oven minutes ago. You let the substance stick to your snow pants and creep into your boots. The pine needles bend with dripping wet paint coats, white blobs fall and are swallowed by a blank sea, an unlined sheet of paper. The sun bounces off the ice blue waves and blinds you with its beauty.
You inhale deeply. Crushing ice numbs your lungs—you gasp for breath, stunned by the crisp sensation. The cold seeps beneath your skin, flooding into your blood stream. Your eyelashes and nose hairs stain white. The soft flesh of your lips begins to crack. Your nose is pink and running. You feel the chill, but it doesn’t hinder you; it motivates you. You climb the mountain made by the snowplough and concur the slides, rolling and jumping and laughing to the falling sky that dumps endless frozen raindrops onto your exposed face. The snow sneaks between your layers to an intimate place, caressing your white, soft skin. You start shivering. Shivering is fine—it’s when you stop, that you start to worry.
You glance up through the incessant fall of chunky snowballs back towards your home. The log cabin emits a golden glow, snug and luminous, a sharp contrast to your current world of white. It pulls you in, like a fishing rod retracts its prey. Your feet move slowly, in a daze, heavy and full of white ice cubes. You command your body to dash but it moves grudgingly, bones numb, veins frozen stiff.
The hearth of the fireplace beckons you like a spring bird entices its young. The warm, wafting smell of the baking cookies is intoxicating. You slam your hip against the front door and stagger inside, walking drunk. The wind screams behind you, trying to get in. You push the door shut and stomp your boots. White crystals spray across the ‘WELCOME’ mat. Mama will scold you for bringing snow indoors, but for the moment she is busy fretting over your frozen body, helping you remove your boots even though you can do it yourself.
You strip every layer, one by one, until the white soft skin that the snow caressed and left moist is exposed to the world. You replace the thick blanket of snow outside with a blanket of burgundy coated in cat hair. You burrow beside the cat in front of the log burning fire, letting the blazes lick your cheeks. You snuggle in as close as you dare; near enough to hear the wind howl its revenge through the black brick chimney, far enough to keep your skin from bubbling and hair from sizzling. Mama hands you a steaming bowl of hazelnut tea and you sip the scorching beverage, tracing the rush of heat from your chapped lips through your veins all the way to the tingle in your frost-bitten toes. Impatiently awaiting the arrival of the cookies, your hand darts out from the safety of the covers to snatch a distraction: a dusty leather-bound book balancing on the mantle. You creak open the portal, words pouring out of pages in waves of snow. You glance out the window, where the sun is descending and the world is wisps of silver.
You are happy, because if you had never been cold, you could never warm up.