This morning, while making coffee, I saw the first snowflake out of the corner of my eye. When I tried to focus on it it was already gone, no trace aside from the gray clouds that I knew were responsible. A few minutes later, I swore I saw another, but then it was gone, and maybe, I thought, I’d just imagined it. Then there were two, guilty and in my focus; and as though they realized I’d caught them, all the small crystals revealed themselves.
I have a fondness for snow that lasts longer into the winter than it does for most. Even a couple of years ago with a broken rib, I longed to see the piles of it and I was disappointed that I couldn’t be the one doing the shoveling. For me, this lasts until about March, and then I’m as eager for spring as anyone else.
Today’s snow is one of those inspiring ones, small flakes and cold air and perfect quiet. Before you see it in the grass it’s covering the walks and the streets — it’s so cold and the flakes so dry that snow is sticking to pavement immediately. What strikes me every time is the accumulation that’s built from one snowflake at a time. There’s no shortage of metaphor and analogy that uses this image, both for inspiration and despair. To me, the more immediate and personal inspiration is in the quiet of the falling snow. Without pretense or announcement it simply becomes, slowly and steadily. I suspect most things we do right and well are through such simplicity. It won’t be long now before I need to start shoveling, quietly, one scoop at a time.