Breath of snow
by Holly Varni
January 16, 2014

Snow Scene

I imagine it’s a snowy day in Moonberry Lake and the good townsfolk are nestled in their homes trying to stay warm by drinking hot liquids and wearing an extra layer of clothing. The temperature sometimes warms up to above zero, as this winter has broken records as the coldest ever.

The holidays are past and the excitement of the first few flakes has diminished. It’s a lot of work living in the snow, it’s a hardship that you agree to. The endless shoveling, the dangerous driving, and the frigid air that gets deep down in your bones are things you accept. Stocking the pantry chockfull of rations and eating canned soup, canned fruit and instant pudding all in the same meal become common. Sitting with your grandma’s afghan and wearing thick woolen socks are done without thought.

Any accommodation is made for the harshness of winter for one reason, and that is the beauty of snow. One look out your window to that white world, and you fall in love. The crystalline fluff is clean and magical, causing you to sigh.

The stillness of the downy landscape is mesmerizing and gives you a feeling of peace. Our senses that are normally bombarded with stimulation are given rest. You take long and audible inhalations at its very sight.

Snow gives justified cause for crackling fires and moments of doing nothing but stare outside.  Sounds are muted, and the world appears to have slowed down. Your home seems safer, the walls stronger. No matter the mess or what needs to be done inside, you are grateful for the shelter. With a snow covered roof and mountains of surrounding white mass, you enter happily to the warm confines of your castle.

In my living room growing up, there was a set of four tall windows that looked out to the front yard. The blinds were always all the way up and the curtains pushed back to optimize our view of the snow.

As a child coming in from the cold, I would shed my winter outerwear that had become sodden and chilling. My mother would be at the stove, sitting on a stool with her legs crossed, leaning over and stirring a pot of milk and rice. Watching it slowly bubble, careful not to let it burn and stick to the bottom, she cooked this milky rice until it was perfect.

Then she would fill a bowl when it was done and put a pat butter, sprinkling of cinnamon and drizzle of honey all over the top. It was warm and delicious, filling and heavy enough to satisfy a winter tummy.

I no longer live near the snow, but every winter will eat homemade rice pudding so that I’m reminded of how I used to look out to that breath of snow.

Wishing you that feeling where ever you live.