…And the World Spins Madly On
Today we had our first significant snowfall…and by “significant” I mean that more than just a few illusionary flakes floated through the air, banded together, and agreed upon an area they wished to blanket on the ground. There was enough to remind us to carefully pace ourselves when out and about.
Unless we’ve had horrible experiences with frostbite, avalanches, and being snowed in with nothing more than a jar of strawberry jelly in our apartment, for the most part, snow is nostalgic.
On those days, when the sky seems to twist its colors into a teasingly bluish-grey hue and the air seems to feel a bit stiffer against my face, I can’t help but be reminded of the actress Lauren Graham and her character “Lorelai” in the dreamy pop-culture-infused television show, Gilmore Girls. I can see her now, closing her eyes, sticking her nose in her air, inhaling deeply, and with a grin that begins to form across her face before she even opens her eyes, she says “I smell snow…Close your eyes and breathe….Can’t you smell it? I love snow…Everything is magical when it snows. Everything looks pretty…The world changes when it snows. It gets quiet. Everything softens.”
She says this because there are times when the world is not so soft. When it is harsh and crass. When it rips you apart with its jaggedness.
There are times when the world is not so quiet. When it is loud and obnoxious. When it plays on at piercing and deafening levels.
There are times when the world is not so magical. When it is bleak and ugly. When all is stale and the stars and sparks have taken on a dismal appearance.
Whatever the cause may be, there are days like that.
We are bloated with images and stories of suicide bombings, political animals, weary wars, iconic deaths, rancorous work environments, familial discord, and tedious illnesses. These things swirl around us and we take it all in, put one foot in front of the other, and do our best to plow through it.
But there comes a point in all of our lives when we have to put it all to a stop. Whatever that stop means for you, you do it. Some days, the stop can be active, angry, and passionate. It can be wild and lead us to a coup. But other times, the stop may be quiet and contemplative. It can be sober and muted in its efforts.
Today – before the snow – my kind of stop was the sleeping kind. It was the kind of sleep you do when being awake is no longer an option. So overworked, overwhelmed, and overstimulated that it seemed, initially, like a shut-down of sorts.
When I awoke, I found myself lying on the couch. I slowly open my eyes not remembering when it was that they had closed on me. Cocooned in a blanket I don’t recall wrapping around myself, I slowly lift my head and see…the snow.
It was as if I was seeing it for the first time ever. Perhaps, it was the color of the sky, or the fact that the sun was fading away in the distance and a greyish tone had overtaken my little corner of the world. Perhaps, because the snow appeared to drop from the clouds as if by magic, floating effortless to the ground in what seemed more like a graceful choreographed dance than a “fall”. I found myself in a most beautiful moment. For that space in time, life made sense, and it became more of a re-boot than a shut-down.
Lorelai explained that at the age of 5, after being sick in bed for a week, she wished really hard for something wonderful to happen to her. The next morning, she woke up and there it was…the snow.
White snow is nature’s way of saying “Here is little bit of nostalgia for you. I won’t tell you which memories to recall or how to remember them. It is my gift to you. Use it, experience it, color it, any way you want.”
As I stared at the tree in the backyard, solid and stoic, despite the flurry of activity around it, it encouraged and reminded me that, once in a while, it’s okay to stop and let the world spin madly on…
Today, this was our something wonderful.