08 February 2010


I don't recall the last time I had the pleasure of watching the shadows of the snowflakes dance on the snow's surface. It's something I could watch for hours. It almost looks, after a while, like little bugs skittering about under the thin veneer of white. As I walked under the eerie orange glow that the night sky adopts when snow falls, I could only hear the dry squick-squick of the powder compacting beneath my boots. That and a holy mess of busily squawking birds in a trembling bamboo grove, which struck me as odd.

I licked the melting snow from my lips and inhaled the wood smoke from some nearby neighbor's fire. My cheeks flushed and rosy, my hat and scarf crusted with wet snow, my toes shushed through the heavy white that fell with measured gravity and gathered quickly on the ground like unsifted frosting sugar. Lumpy, soft, fresh and pure.

I had to be out in it. The brevity is what makes me saddest about how snow operates in Nashville, so I felt inclined to make the best of it, to get my fill until I was too chilled to go on. I walked the very quiet grid of my neighborhood and watched how the vehicles either drove smartly or not. There is a staggering contingent of misinformed -- or just dense -- winter-weather drivers out there, I'm afraid. I turned off the main roads as soon as I could, to trade the spinning tires and revving engines for the quiet and the still. When the motion sensor lights illuminated the corners of houses I walked past, the fat flakes turned into twinkly prisms that danced mid-air. Mesmerizing. Once my toes began to go numb, I figured I should make for the house, lest I lose my mind from the snow's allure and wander out onto the golf course, never to be seen or heard from again.

I'm home now, it's turning to an icier affair. I'm glad I took the opportunity -- it was a small window of time. It's a gift from the sky which arrived with such haste and wonder. Here's hoping it sticks around for just a bit longer than it took for it to arrive.