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Defining Snow

A friend of mine who lives in Colorado recently wrote and said that they had just enjoyed their first snowfall of the year. When I hear about snow, I feel farther from home than at any other time. The miracle of snow seems unreal to me here in this hot, dry land. I’ve discovered how hard it is to describe snow to people who have never experienced it, who may have never even seen a picture of it.

It’s white. That fact is pretty indisputable. And cold. But what next?

“It’s like ice, right?” they say. “Hard and slippery.”

“No,” I reply. “Well, at least not usually, but I guess sometimes. Mostly it’s soft like the brush of an eyelash on your cheek…”

When it falls at night it lights up the darkness with a thousand soft lights, a soft, radiant faerie light that surrounds you…the snow falls from the sky, but the light is everywhere. You close your eyes and the snow is everything you hear, everything you breathe, everything you taste. You feel it around you, you feel it in you. That’s snow.

How can you describe the meaning of snow to people who have no experience with it?

My father is snow; me following behind him with a shovel, clearing the walks to the house, pausing to shake a tree limb so he is lost momentarily in a white shower of snow, laughing as he pretends to be angry and puts a handful down my jacket.

My grandparents are snow; little brick house like a postcard, the smell of woodsmoke, chewing tobacco, and freshly baked kolaches. Snuggling with Mom under two quilts, Dad banished to another room for the duration of the visit, listening to the wood stove’s clang as Grandpa starts the morning fire. Snow hanging so heavily in the branches you think you can walk up them like a bridge as you walk out to see the bear tracks at the tree line. Hearing the sound of the long distance trucks as they drive past, so lonely, so lost in the snow.

I have given up trying to explain snow to anyone but myself. I know, though, that it is a part of me, and I hope that someday, again, I will find that part and rejoice again in the wonder of snow.

a shimmering light


from the corner

of your eye


a snowflake

fleeting moment

of wholeness on

your mittened hand


a fragrance

a sigh of scent

dissipates on the

cool night breeze


what has been

what is

what will be

what could be


woven with

infinite mercy

boundless wisdom

a master plan


each moment

a breath

a gift to be

cherished, well spent


I walk this path

in thankfulness,


surety of truth



on this,

the Straight Path

in peace.



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