I love snow. Living in England, I *miss* snow. Those of my readers who have lived through Minnesota winters or have lived in Canada will probably be putting their heads in their hands right now - sorry, guys.
Why? Not just for the lost school days, both as student and teacher. Nor is it for the sheer beauty of a pristine, blanketed world and the flakes floating down through the sky. In part, it's for the enforced hiatus: as a natural introvert with a strong sense of duty towards others, I love the excuse for solitude under a duvet, with a mug of hot chocolate and a good book (which may stay unread on my lap as I watch the snow fall and just daydream).
Most of all, it's for the silence - by my reckoning, the world is far too restless with too much surface chatter and noise. Snow muffles sound, both physically and by forcing people to stay home. In that stillness, you can hear what's beneath the surface and catch the fleeting sound of creation's heartbeat.
When I lived in Maryland, in the Washington suburbs, we'd almost always be along the snow/rain line, which often meant ice, slush or rain. But some winters we'd hit the jackpot and we'd measure snowfall in feet, with white flakes drifting out of the sky for days, blanketing the world and bringing a preternatural hush to one of the world's busiest cities.
I've not seen snow like that for a dozen years. Yes, we've had the occasional drifting of flakes, maybe even for a few hours, but no real accumulation in this part of the country. This morning...
...this morning was different. My eyes opened in that greyness between darkness and dawn. When I couldn't get back to sleep in 10 minutes, I looked at the clock.
I groaned. "IT'S SUNDAY," I thought. "GO BACK TO SLEEP, PLEASE." No dice.
"Maybe you need to go to the loo," an inner voice whispered.
"I've been potty-trained since wide ties were originally in fashion. I think I'd know," grumpy me replied.
"Just GO," came the reply.
This conversation went on for another 5 minutes before I decided to stop wasting time and just go.
I scuttled down the hallway to the loo. As I snapped on the light and blinked sleepily, I idly looked out the frosted glass window into the garden.
"NO," I thought, as it had been sunny and well above freezing the day before. "It's not possible."
Then my no-longer-sleepy eyes flicked upward to the sky - the pinky-grey sky that only ever means one thing. And it ain't rain.
After a loo break that broke the world record for women (I was probably almost as quick as a man!), I tore back down the hall to look through the window in my room.
And there it was - a silent world covered in snow, with flakes drifting down out of the sky at blizzard speed. I watched in wondering silence for a while, then grabbed my phone and took a picture. Then watched some more. Finally, I snuggled under my duvet and closed my eyes with a smile and a prayer of thanks for the beauty, a wish finally granted, for that moment of stillness and connection to creation - which I would have missed without the nudge to nip to the loo, so thanks for that as well.
As I drifted into the twilight world between waking and sleep, I realised what I loved the most about these six-sided ice crystals.
Snow is a prayer.