Tasiujaq has been blanketed by a thin veil of snow a few times since September. On a few occasions, the icy crystals had fallen over this little village lightly, but persistently. Qualitatively, it constituted snow, but quantitatively, it wasn’t worth bothering with. It was minimal, and it was only temporary – either melting or blowing away into the tundra within a few days.
It was only recently that we received our first true snow fall – snow fall substantial enough to warrant acknowledgement as such. Last weekend, everything all but stopped – the slow-paced life of Tasiujaq was rendered even slower – as the snow fell quietly over every mountain, rock and building. The thick flakes fell boldly, as if to say “I’m here to stay”, and clung onto every surface with determination. The wind blew with the kind of vehemence that locked it into place rather than blew it away. Winter is here.
Mentally, I’m not quite prepared for winter, and we’re in for a long, cold and dark one. I know that once the snow is here to stay, it will be here until June. I also know that by about March, I will come to loathe it. But despite all that, I’m still (a bit surprisingly) able to find the beauty and magic in the first true snow fall. Whether it’s the Christmas spirit or just the spirit of winter in general my spirit is always lifted on the day of the first true snow fall. It’s lifted just by the mere sparkly-ness of my surroundings. But there’s more to the first true snow fall than just its beauty.
The first true snow fall is awesome because it elicits intense feelings of nostalgia.
I bask in memories of sliding at Centennial Park with my sister and friends, and of playing “Batman” in my neighbour’s backyard when I was a child. I remember having picnics in freshly built snow forts and sliding at the Swan Pond in Sackville with friends in university. I remember that smell of a burning wood stove that so often frequented rural Maritime air when I lived there. I crave the steamy apple ciders I drank on many a Saturday morning during the winter at the Wolfville Farmer’s Market, and the hearty home-cooked stews of my childhood. I remember my first experience of a Tasiujaq snow fall, which had occurred much earlier in the year than I was accustomed to.
The first true snow fall is awesome because it comes with a real sense of comfort. At home, I bask in the softness of flannel pyjamas and wool socks. Outside, I bask in the warmth of thick knit scarves and warm, homemade mittens. T’is the season to be cozy.
And, the first true snow fall is awesome because it elicits an intense feeling of excitement. I think of the children’s excitement each year I’ve been teaching, on the day of the first true snowfall of that year. I also remember José, a little boy from Cuba who was in a grade 3/4 class in which I’d once worked, and his amazement when he saw snow fall for the first time. I bask in the excitement of a season of festivity and coming togetherness, and with child-like anticipation, I bask in the excitement of reunions and the joy that they will bring. With this first true snow fall comes the knowledge that they’re not so far away.
I hope everyone takes the time to relish the awesome in their first true snow fall.