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Whether/Weather by Evie

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Whether/Weather
 
I was longing for snow, especially when I heard the forecast:  8-10” early Thursday morning.  Then, 5-8”, then 2”, then sleet.  Very disappointing…
 
I looked out on the woods from my bedroom window and I saw a snow sky - gray and sunless, and hoped that that was a harbinger of snow to come. But it was not to be…
 
Why was I so excited about a possible snowstorm?  Snow conjures up so many memories of the past, both heartrending and heartwarming, depending on my circumstances - where and when the snow begins to fall:
 
Snow falling on our farm in Upstate New York in the Winter of 1977. Minus forty degrees for ten days in a row, twice a day milking and feeding four milk cows, feeding six sows, two horses and numerous chickens; hurling a pickaxe at the ice to break through to fresh water; wrapping my three year old son in hay so he wouldn’t freeze while I milked the cows.  Shoveling a tunnel about two feet wide through six feet of snow from my house to the barn; burning wet, green pine in the wood stove out of desperation to keep warm. Looking back on those Winters, I always believed that whatever challenges life gave me, I would survive them because I had already gone through one of the toughest experiences in my life - the responsibility of keeping alive my son and the livestock in one of the most brutal winters in Upstate New York. 
 
And then, a glorious memory of walking with friends through Central Park in NYC late at night. The quiet beauty and peacefulness such an anomaly to the usual hustle and bustle of the city.
When there is enough snow to blanket everything, sounds become muted and the world feels as if in an ancient time.  Walking in pristine snow awakens in me a sense of the primordial. Everything familiar - benches, trees, fountains, fences become shapes in a frozen landscape that could easily mark a time before humans.  Treading on new fallen snow reminds me of my childhood.  Beauty and innocence.  And magic.
 
 During my years on the farm and my commuting years to my job, I have both cursed snow and reveled in it; I have both marveled at its splendor and awaited it with dread. Snow in Virginia is a rarity. When it does fall, and I am at home with no place I have to be, I feel that all my awareness is concentrated on its beauty and I am free from the distractions of the world for just a little while.
 
 
Evie Safran
December 2020