The first snow of the season drifts down in little white specks, blown about in a dazzling array despite how few and how small they are. It was a surprise, quite frankly.
The week had been busy and I rushed to pick up some takeaway dinner as a solution for our frozen food taking too long to defrost. It was one of those unglamorous days that you don’t share on social media but happen all too often regardless.
That’s why it was such a poignant lesson.
I forgot to turn on the porch light, so when I got back, there was no light to illuminate the path up the stairs to the back porch.
That’s what made me stop and see what was in front of me.
Hungry and feeling rushed from the previous few hours, I came back home in a hurry, hardly even noticing it had been snowing on my way back. Was it that easy to forget?
I opened the car door and stood there for a moment breath taken away by the shower of gentle flakes in the crisp air. The food was still warm, so a stray thought told me to rush inside so I could savor that human comfort.
Instead, I tossed the Styrofoam boxes back into the car and stood there in the dark, looking up into the sky.
In that moment, I was alone in the quiet stillness of the snowlit night.
I’ve always found winter in the northeast to have a special illumination to it. Even on nights like this, where the moon is new, there was plenty of light reflected from the clouds. Yes, the logical part of my brain understands it’s really from light pollution and it’s probably quite a problem for regulating the circadian rhythm of nocturnal animals – but for the other part of me, it gave me everything I needed to focus on the moment.
I stood there for a few minutes.
It wasn’t nearly enough, but it was more than I would have allowed myself had I not been yanked out of my routine by such an event.
In that moment, the sound of cars on the highway faded, and there was nothing but the stillness of the night.
If you’ve ever experienced a busy urban environment during a heavy, overnight snow, you’ll know this kind of stillness.
It’s the kind of eerie stillness that shouldn’t be, but feels all too natural and makes you confront your place in the universe nonetheless.
In that moment, I looked above me into the black void of sky and watched the snowflakes drift out of nothingness, caught momentarily on these invisible currents that would carry them briefly before dropping them again, as if the flake’s weightlessness refused to be interrupted.
Why do I let the day to day interrupt me? I get bogged down with so much stress and import placed on the work that I forget to be weightless, and drift to my own current.
I wished I could share the moment but knew I couldn’t – though I tried, so captured a few seconds of video above. Still, I knew it was a gift of mine to keep, so I stood for a few minutes longer to appreciate it.
How many more of these moments would I get?
I will never know the number, but I can appreciate them as they come.
I packed up and brought the food inside, but I longed for the snowy wind that I could hear blowing the leaves across the yard in big gusts. Every night since, however, I’ve learned how to get a little more acquainted with winter nights, stepping into the cold and letting myself be alone in the night. Even in my own backyard, the experience is humbling and reflective.
Tonight, I was gifted with more snow drifts. Winter is just beginning here, with the last few leaves of autumn having just fallen from the trees, and I’m eager to meet each snowstorm and welcome it. It seems like the best way to show appreciation for winter taking a moment to remind me to look around.