Snowfall is beginning, but i remain in denial
my mom sent me an email a few days ago reminding me i’d left my son’s winter boots at her house last spring, “in case you were wondering where they were.” i hadn’t been. if winter boots were something i wanted to think about right now, i might have remembered that when we visited last easter, my son shed his boots and traded them in for running shoes, and i left them there, thinking they might fit my niece this year.
oK, to be honest, i might not have remembered. i have three jars of mayonnaise in my fridge. organization hasn’t always been my strong suit.
however, unlike some of the emails my mom sends me, reminding me to switch my clocks back or get my taxes done, for example, i actually do appreciate her annual “it’s time to get ready for winter” email, despite its implication that i’m not on top of the stuff of adulthood.
it really would be a smart idea to sort all our winter gear out now. it’s just that i’d prefer to remain in denial. i’ll probably pull things out frantically at the last minute, like i do every year. my son may end up wearing running shoes to school on the day of the first snowfall — again.
i’m not sure when everything changed, but the first snowfall used to feel like a special, much anticipated occasion.
when i was a kid, i’d sit by the window and watch the first snowflakes sprinkle over the earth. They made my boring street and all its brown, box-like houses suddenly feel enchanted.
every year i forgot that winter meant heavy snow pants and cold, wet feet. The whole world had just been transformed before my eyes. it felt full of exciting possibilities.
more and more people it seems, are trying to bring back the magic of the first snowfall. mommy blogs and family-oriented websites are filled with tips on how to start new, firstsnowfall traditions, like baking brownies covered in a dusting of icing sugar. Families plan cosy nights in, or bundle up to enjoy winter picnics in the park.
There’s no reason families should be the only ones getting into the spirit of things. Popping open a bottle of Champagne or inviting friends over for dinner to mark the first snowfall can help spark the feeling that the beginning of winter is not something to dread.
as adults, we’ve grown accustomed to welcoming winter with heavy hearts. it has come to mean putting our winter tires on, storing patio furniture and clearing the last wet piles of leaves off our lawns, instead of pond hockey, crackling fireplaces and the beginning of the holiday season.
it hasn’t helped that winter has carved a dreary place in our social imaginary. more often than not, our iconic winter scenes draw attention to the season’s hardships. some of our more celebrated painters filled their canvases with huddled figures trudging through grey-blue landscapes. in Clarence gagnon’s famous illustrations for the novel maria Chapdelaine, heavy snow threatens to slide off rooftops. Trees droop under its weight.
and in denis villeneuve’s blade runner 2049, enormous snow banks and icy storms are used to emphasize the characters’ isolation and alienation. in the film’s final scene, though, the main character lies on his back like a snow angel, looking up at a white, ethereal sky. snowflakes drift down and fill the scene with a feeling of possibility. villeneuve has given us fresh, new snow. it’s a snow that fills the world with wonder.
it takes effort, but it’s worth it to try to cultivate a sense of wonder. we lose this dreamy way of seeing the world too quickly when life begins to deliver its punches, but we’ve always needed it to help carry us though the dark.