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.
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?”
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.