Sunday, January 02, 2022

Winter gets its first blanket

First light of the new year
London, ON
January 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram

The first major snow event of the new year means different things to different people.

Many will grumble at the prospect of digging the car out and clearing the driveway. Or wearing parkas and hats and mitts and whatever else keeps the cold at bay. Or the inevitable melting mess in the vestibule as we return home and try to avoid soaking our socks in an unseen puddle.

Others will welcome it, embrace it, even.

I’m generally in the latter camp. Sure, I resent the shovel as must as anyone, but there’s something resonant about those early hours of a snowfall, when there’s just enough of the white stuff on the ground to mute out the usual sounds of everyday city life, where everything seems to slow down as the planet and its people adjust to the freshly repainted landscape.

Don’t get me wrong: I could live without the melting, slushy mess, the dressup dance we must endure every time we step outside, and the same thing in reverse whenever we return. Or the added dangers on the road. Or the extra time added to ordinarily simple tasks. This winter thing can be exhausting.

But when it’s just you and the dog under a dark grey sky, when you can both hear and feel the driving snow slowly covering the neighborhood, where the snap of the cold on your cheeks makes them feel both numb and alive at the same time, you begin to wonder why anyone wouldn’t want to experience a moment like this at least once.

Maybe I’m a little too Canadian for my own good, and perhaps I wear my optimism a little too proudly on my sleeve. I’m sure I’ll be grumbling soon enough as the brownish sludge soaks through my socks for the third time that day.

But for now, amid the near-silence of the falling snow, it’s enough to stare down the middle of the seemingly endless tire track and wonder about the path that we’re all on, and ask whether we’re doing enough to extract whatever little bits of joy we possibly can.

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Chasing snow at night, November 2021
Winter still sucks, February 2020
Fly away home (again), February 2019
The morning after, December 2006

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