Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
In looking through notes to write my Harbingers post, I realized I had never posted these thoughts which I had written to send to my friends working for the Peace Corps in Togo, Africa. While home for Christmas, they mentioned that the local people they met couldn't fathom winter, cold, and snow. Well, that I can help with.
Some things are always true about snow: It is crystallized water. It is always cold. It falls from the sky.
Snow coats the branches of trees like frosting on a cake.
Snow is thick and slippery like walking on butter.
When it is very cold, snow squeaks as though you have your own personal squirrel announcing evey step.
Sometimes, snow is very dry. It falls like powder. The flakes are like grains of sugar. They sparkle in the sunlight. This kind of snow is easy to shovel. It is light and airy, and when you throw it, it fills the air with sparkly fairy dust.
Other times, snow is wet and heavy. Shoveling it is like moving piles of cold, white cow dung. A long sidewalk or driveway full of this snow will make your back and shoulders ache. Though, you can press this snow between your hands to make a ball, and when you throw it, it flies through the air and smacks into the next thing it meets.
Snow is soft. When you jump into deep snow, you land in the clouds.
What have I missed? What is your metaphor to explain snow to someone who has never seen it?
Sofia came tearing into the kitchen, "Mamamamamama! There are FLOWERS outside." So we went to look, and, sure enough, the crocuses have arrived on the south side of the house. Later, I saw a red winged blackbird (yeah!).
Of course, crocuses and red winged blackbirds are everyone's harbingers of spring. I had my own personal harbingers today, too.
I hung laundry outside on the line, and it actually dried. (N.B. Some years I have attempted this too early and come into the house crying with painful red fingers and/or ended up throwing the laundry into the dryer anyway because I couldn't tell if it was still damp or just really cold.) Granted, I was wearing my hat and a pair of wool felt fingerless gloves, but the laundry went OUT. There is a certain meditativeness in the hanging of laundry outside, and I miss it in the winter. The sun on my head and shoulders, birds singing, bend to the basket, rise to the line, clip, bend, rise, clip, bend, rise, clip.
I wore shoes on the basis of their cuteness today. Not snow boots because of the weather, not hiking boots because I was tired of the snow boots but still needed protection from the elements: cute shoes for the sake of cute shoes, and my feet stayed warm.