Getting excited about the first snowfall

The snow hasn’t landed yet so it’s easy to wax poetic.

About how it blankets everything in the city in a cleansing shroud of white, muffling the sounds of sirens and streetcars and vans and trucks and cars. How the footprints of hundreds are erased for a few minutes and you’re the first to mark the pristine virgin path covered in even an inch or two of pure white. For a while you can feel the silence of the city.

It’s easy to think about the fun of building snowmen. Having snowball fights. Making snow angels with your kid – feeling like a kid again yourself.

I remember in Grade 4 there was a new kid in our school. He’d recently arrived from a country that didn’t have any snow. The day of the first snowfall he looked out the window and saw the white flakes – he leapt up from his desk and we all got to share the joy and wonder of his first sight of snow. We, too, felt the excitement, kids who’d grown up with snow, we also knew we’d be tired of it by the end of March. He helped us rediscover the magic.

Like the kids in William Kurelek’s painting, enjoying the pure joy of winter.

William Kurelek’s painting Excitement of First Heavy Snow Mixed Media 1974 38″ x 23″ Private Collection. It sold at the Loch Gallery. This picture captures the pure joy of childhood and nature.

And then, when the snow stops, people fill the streets to dig themselves out. It’s one of the rare chances to see your neighbours in the winter – rushing in from the cold, usually there’s no reason to stop and chat. After a snowfall is when the city’s at its best – neighbours helping neighbours, shoveling the walk for the old lady next door. Stopping for conversation, or a quick saluation.

“Cold enough for you?”

Balsam Avenue After Heavy Snowfall Mixed Media 1972. It was sold at the Joyner-Waddington auction  in 2008. This painting captures for me the solidarity city dwellers feel after a snowfall – it brings neighbours together and streets come to life.

The snow’s not here yet. But it’s coming our way. And I still get as excited as I did when I was a kid. It’s not March so I’m not sick of it yet – bring it on.



  1. Great that you look on the positive and even mystical aspect of snowfall Deb, and love the images. There are enough grumpy old gits (including moi) that will moan about it until it has all gone 🙂 Fortunately it is a rare enough occurrence here in the Channel Islands – a day or two per year maybe.

    1. That’s probably because we haven’t really got it yet, Roy! Give me a month or two and my cynical cap might go on yet. Actually, when I was living in the U.K. one of the things I missed the most was a proper winter with snow.

  2. […] may have been feeble, but my daughter wasn’t going to let that stop her from enjoying the first snowfall of the season. She jumped up excitedly out of bed when she realized there was snow on the ground, put on all of […]

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Alex Good

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