I gaze out each window, and I am surrounded by snow flurries. Pellet-sized snow is thick in the atmosphere. The clouds have been dusting us with this sky sugar for at least an hour. Everyone is abuzz—some panicking, some delighted. It’s the end of March, and we live in Seattle. We haven’t seen snow all year, except for a few tablespoons up on Capitol Hill. I think that was placed there by gremlins. The current storm is nifty.
Context is everything. In Minnesota, a similar atmospheric outburst would be greeted by jeers. By the end of March everyone has had more than enough of that sort of thing, and they are quite ready to move on to rain and heat. In Seattle, people stand in the cold winter air, complaining when the thermometer dips below fifty. They lament, they moan. They do not know how they will survive. In Minnesota, when it’s above freezing they roll the windows down, blast the car stereos, and do everything in shorts. It all depends on your perspective.
This sudden snow shower reminds me of a meditation retreat I went to in St. Paul, Minnesota. We were in the last hours of seven days of silence, and the strict rules about not interacting with others were starting to relax. Another participant tapped me on the shoulder and pointed out the window, excited. It was starting to snow. I remember being annoyed, thinking about the mess it would make on the way home. I didn’t know what he was even pointing at. It couldn’t be the weather. Could it? I gave him a confused shrug, and he mimicked the falling flakes with his fingers, delighted. I found out afterwards that he was from California, and he’d never seen snow before. The miracle was new to him.
I feel like that now. Snow is a rare commodity in Seattle proper, and I cherish what little I do see. I don’t want to go back to the frozen north, but I do appreciate the small glimpses I get of the white fluffy stuff. Seattle snow is snow globe snow. It blows around for a bit and looks pretty, and then settles safely out of the way until the next shake up. I’m perfectly happy to live in our pretty glass bubble. It feels like home.
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:
66. What’s cold to you? What’s your perspective on the weather, and where do you think you got it? Is it helpful or not?