Mom was the first person to say something positive about our sudden descent into deep November.
“At least the snow is here. It’s so much brighter”.
It took me by surprise a little bit. That first coating of snow is the winter primer, the foundational layer that coats sidewalks and roads and blows in drifts, borne across roads, faces, and windshields in 70 km/h gusts and whisking itself into small mounds that will later grow into snowy mountains, that first snow that isn’t really enough snow to make the world snowy but just enough to be a pain in the ass is not usually greeted – by anyone I know, at least – with glee.
I like having the snow once it’s stuck around a bit. When I can ski on it, or the river freezes and I can skate, and when it’s frozen enough that I can just shake off my boots and not be both cold and wet. But the first snow, the acclimatizing snow, is more like a rite of passage. Boots and brushes come out. Everything moves slower, every bus is late.
There are moments of wonder with the first fluffy bright flakes, sparkling under streetlights, filling the air. Their very presence reveals the hidden vastness of the space around us, around buildings and streets and the things we take for granted as being permanent. When the air is filled with flakes, you can look up and see, really see, all of the space between and around us that is usually empty, taken for granted. It’s full. It’s impossible to ignore.
But I never noticed that it’s actually brighter when the world is filled with white. I suppose on some level I knew, but now I see the light reflected off the world shining into my window, not the same damp resolute grey light of post-fall pre-snow November. It’s colder, it’s more slippery, it’s a world that demands layers and layers of fabric heaped onto our frames, it’s more dark than light. But when it’s bright, in that short 9 hours of daylight, mom was right. It’s so much brighter.