My move out to San Francisco means I have to make peace with rolling morning fog, ten degree differences in weather from one section of San Francisco to the next and likely no snow this coming year. Note, I say “likely” considering that everything these days is so topsy turvey. You just never know. Mind you, I am escaping the brutal winter season that those of us that were on the east coast of the United States experienced last year. It snowed and snowed and snowed. I fell repeatedly and eventually didn’t leave home until I moved out west. While I am a die-hard New Yorker, I was ready for a change of scenery or seasonsry (sort of speak).
But I miss the snow. Or rather, I miss the smell. I miss smelling the green after a summer thunderstorm and I miss smelling the morning winter air when snow is coming. When snow first falls it is the calmest moment of the day. In that moment, air is still, wet and inviting. It is like a warm gently breath on your face that soon turns crispy. The snow, the smell of it, inevitably brings a sense of nostalgia with it.Have you ever seen the movie Smila’s Sense of Snow? Recall the last scene where Smilla gazes out over the seemingly endless landscape of ice and snow—the land of her childhood? I recall the time many years ago on New Year’s eve when my uncle to took me to the races and it felt like zero degrees out. There was a layer of snow that had already turned black, ice and rough. I recall the time where it snowed and snowed at my boarding school and literally crawled to the math building for I didn’t know how to walk in snow. As a city girl I was used to the plows coming by and the business owners walking shovel in hand salting the sidewalks. Fluffy pristine snow banks were a thing a South Bronx girl would see on the small screen.
Then slowly I started smelling it. I started anticipating the snow. Of course, having escaped west signals that I was ready to break from the snow. Have you ever seen the movie The Ice Storm? There is a sadly, beautiful scene where a character walks out in the oncoming storm (hence the movie title) completely enthralled by the beauty of the ice out in the fields. The scene gorgeously showcases snow and a sense of calm before the proverbial storm. I won’t spoil what happens next. Yet the awe-inspiring falling snow led to an electric end.
Snow, I suppose it is too early to start talking about it. Summer is just ending and the leaves out east are about to start turning. And although the snow may become overwhelming later in the year, the fist time it falls can fill one’s lungs with a scoop of happiness and several more of sad nostalgia. Then it falls and all is calm for a few minutes. The snow embraces the trees, adorning their bare arms. You can go stand at your window and be transfixed. What was once dreary now has a coat of beauty on it. You want to go lick the snow or lick a pole and get one’s tongue stuck. Oh Ralphie! Who hasn’t tried it? The smell of snow is indeed wondrous.
Now I suppose I will have to look at my snow globes. I don’t think the smell, and subsequent nostalgia, will be quite the same.