I realize some of you won’t appreciate this post, because you are stuck there in the dark heart of the Polar Vortex. But think of us here—a girl who misses her Midwestern snow and believes every winter should look like the holiday issue of the L.L. Bean catalog and a boy raised in a country deprived of snow completely—now stuck in a city that has on offer only rain. Wet, cold, wintry rain. Look deep in your heart. Don’t you want more for them?
Saturday night the cars driving by sounded extra slushy, so we peeled back the curtains and what did we see but one of those wet, lovely, tree-clinging snows. Even though I knew it was fleeting, for a whole night, I was able to pretend it was really and truly winter. We pushed open the curtains, turned off the lights, and watched the snow come down. To make it truly spectacular, I should have turned on our DVD fireplace.
Z likes to argue that I don’t really love winter and that I am only happy if the temperature is somewhere between 58 and 64 outside and 68 inside. I complain about heat, rain, sun, wind, and anything else that gets hurled at me. Maybe he is right and I’m the Goldilocks of weather, but some of my best, clearest memories are of snow in a city at night. They aren’t “event” memories—nothing happens in these memories—instead, they are more memories of ambience: walking with my two mittened hands in the hand of a parent when I’m too young to even have memories; walking amidst the Victorian houses and tree-lined streets of Richmond’s north end from the apartment Mom and I were living in to the cozy apartment of our good friend; sitting on a hay bale singing Christmas carols with my cousins at my grandparents’ farm; my little college campus transformed into a 1980s snow globe as we moved from dorms to classes to cafeteria, cocooned in snow; more than one knee-deep, frigid snow in Chicago, where I first discovered how even a big city can seem small and quiet (and clean) late at night with snow falling; a birthday in Freeport, Maine, where I actually got to see that perfect L.L. Bean catalog cover in real life but also sadly dropped my camera in a snow drift trying to capture it; last March, a midnight walk from Chickpea’s apartment in Brookline to the hotel where Z and I were staying and where I was the only person on the street and the whole city felt like mine.
My favorite, though, was the surprise Seattle snow the first few months Z and I were together and the block walk from the Quarter Lounge to his apartment, and we were both electric with love for each other and the snow felt like some kind of magical fairy dust that had appeared just for us.
So those are the reasons why at 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, I decided I needed to take my congested nose out into the cold to walk around and snap some photos. Z spent several years in Minnesota, so romanticizes snow a lot less than I do, but even so, he eventually came outside to humor me.
The city was quiet and we passed very few people and one perturbed looking dog. By the next morning, the snow was gone, almost as if it had never happened.
Tomorrow, we leave for California where Z will be presenting at a conference, so all memory of winter will disappear as quickly as a Seattle snowfall.