Tuesday, December 4, 2007

First December Snow

The snows kept falling.

Across the country for the past few days of this first winter storm, men and women stood outside with shovels for hours at a time, their pores opening and soaking their shirts with each foot of driveway cleared, each sidewalk made somewhat passable again.

I even picture these people under the stars, their hearts opening to the cold and the effort and the faith that someone inside cares for them and thinks of them and wants them happy and deeply content with this strange journey we all are on.

Some part of me wants to know what happened in each of their hearts when they looked up into the cold night sky.

Two months ago I began collecting vintage photographs of landscapes with snow. I understood what makes such transfigured landscapes appealing scenes for a professional photographer. I was intrigued, however, by the mental image of someone like you or me leaving a warm house and deliberately taking a camera out into the cold, for a few minutes intent on catching on film a friend, a spouse, a child, a group of workers, a view down a familiar road or street.


Kimberly said...


I am here with a big grin, reading this and remembering a Camelot day of no-school and 26.9 inches of snow on the ground in 24 hours two years ago. I shared this unbelievable magic with a friend from Chile and her sister--neither of whom had ever seen snow. What a gorging we had that day! Wandering, kicking, throwing, playing, and then, coming in to a steamed up diner, still laughing and speaking both Spanish and the language of warm, enduring, friendship.

Great memory for this drippy cold day in the City.

John said...

For some of us, snow is that invitation to be the youngest, dearest selves we can be. You and your Chilean friends took up the invitation and created life and memory after memory in places all over the map of New York City.

For others, snow means effort and determination and, in a way, a time when questions about our lives and the ways we live them inevitably arise.

I think we are all of us lucky, no matter the call that snow makes to us.

Kimberly said...


True enough... there are many aspects to this frozen stillness. Many aspects to the invitation... Makes me think of other invitations I have received and the multitudinous layers of that to which I was invited.

Thanks for the hmmm.

warm peace.