I miss snow, especially at this time of the year. When I was smaller and people were taller, it seemed to snow all the time in December, and the snow was remarkable and deep. There was nothing so cozy feeling as a snowfall outside while you are inside, knowing you don’t have to go out. One could stay home, isolated from the world, drinking something hot, and watch the world turn white and wonderful. Some of my fondest memories are times of peering out the window at the quiet falling snow. It made Christmas magical; without it Christmas seemed not quite right. Falling asleep, snug as a bug in a rug, while hearing the blizzard howl outside was a lullaby like no other.

Snow is all well and pretty while sitting inside sipping cocoa. It is another thing having to venture into it. Thems in Iceland have a word for this:

Gluggaveður: (n.): Weather that looks pretty when looking out at it through a window from inside, but it is actually cold and nasty to enter into it.

There is a Shadow side to snow: isolation and insanity. Before phones and such if one became snowed in you were stuck, unable to escape, or do much really. In Western literature, snow is often used as a metaphor for losing grip on reality or going insane from isolation.* Snow is dangerous; it can kill. In Japanese folklore men lost in a blizzard may encounter Yuki-onna, or ‘Snow woman’ who lures them to their doom.

Nowadays no one stays home any more due to snow. We go out into it like any day. Snow is seen not as something lovely but as a nuisance, something in the way, thwarting the daily doings we insist happen come hell or high water.

It may be the great snowfalls of the past will melt away with global warming. Yoki-onna will disappear as there is no snow to house her spirit, and we have snowplows and salt to clear the roads.

I would like just one more time to be in a house or cabin, while the weather outside is frightful but the fire is so delightful, cup or tea in hand, and watch the world fill up with white again, as I drift into a quiet detachment that only being snowbound can do.

*”The Shining” is a good example, as is “Miriam” by Truman Capote. My favorite is ‘Silent snow, secret snow’ by Conrad Aiken.