I love the white that glints off the patio steps in my backyard, the stark contrast between earth and sky.
I love the red cardinal, feathers like blood, who perches on a snow-kissed tree root.
I love the sweet smell of pine in the winter, the way the branches bend and twist towards the sun.
I love the stillness of the ground, the quiet after a dusting, the way the world seems holy, untouched.
I love the snow because it reminds me of childhood. Of flushed cheeks and pink noses, of wet gloves and skin damp with cold and sweat. Of the hill down the block, of sleds made from garbage can lids, of pulling my sister in a circular sled up and down the iced-over street, of the first boy I ever loved, silent, sitting next to me on the edge of our man-made snow ramp.
The snow reminds me of nights past curfew, watching my breath fog the windows of my car and grow into small clouds that disappeared into the air. It reminds me of warm winter boots and fuzzy socks pulled over pale legs. It reminds me of the drive to college, and the thousands of miniature snowflakes that evaporated onto the windshield of my mother’s car, wiped away. And wondering, then, if each snowflake really was different, and if anyone could possibly know.
Snow is the cold under my bare feet the one time I was angry and started running. It is the whimpers of my dog whose tiny padded soles burn with the salt. It is the muscles of my father’s back as he shovels. It is the memory of my grandfather who died the winter of 1971. It is my car tires sliding into a snow bank. It is my sister, bundled like a marshmallow, building a snowman in the yard. It is the smells of my mother’s Christmas dinner, filtering through the walls of the home I grew up in. It is the mark of the city I where I was raised. The white, melting, ever-changing foundation of the person I am.