first snow

“Early Snow” by Konstantin Kryzhitsky

The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?
~ J. B. Priestley

It looks as if I have a busy day ahead of me, but my spirits have been lifted by an early snowfall, and, even if the snow will melt away as the day goes on, the feeling of delight it gave me continues… I heard two rumbles of thunder during the night, so I was not expecting to see snow when I got up out of bed! It felt so good to bundle up and go out to warm up the car for Tim, and brush the thick wet stuff off of it. I know I’m weird, but I love going outside in the winter, and this is the time of year when one can see bright yellow leaves from autumn resting on the still-green grass from summer, covered with a dollop of winter white snow.

One year back in the 1980s sometime it happened to snow one day in October, during the peak of fall color on a weekend. We were on a hike deep into the woods of Pachaug State Forest with two other families. It was so very enchanting! Everything seemed bathed in a magical light… (I call it snowlight.) We cooked a meal we brought over a campfire and took in the sounds of nature, the stillness of the snow, the fading light. Even the eight little ones were quietly mesmerized and not complaining about a thing. We reluctantly turned back so we could be out of the woods by dusk.

Things are not going well for Auntie. She’s had a trip to the emergency room in an ambulance and numerous visits to doctors and clinics in the past couple of weeks. Somehow during all this she broke some of her ribs, a painful addition to all her other problems. We’re all feeling the strain.

In my moments of solitude I’ve been exploring the vast treasures to be found at Wikimedia Commons, discovering artists I never knew existed from Ukraine and Norway and other interesting places. I went through a phase years ago where I dragged Tim, Larisa or Fran with me to museums from Boston to New York to Washington, to see all the Renoir paintings I could locate. In the process Larisa fell in love with Rodin. And now that I’ve “discovered” William-Adolphe Bouguereau, I hope to be dragging one or all of them with me to find one of his paintings in the near future!

Early Snow, the painting above, is by Konstantin Kryzhitsky, an Ukrainian painter, who lived from 1858 to 1911.

15 thoughts on “first snow”

  1. Resonating with all you said, even the tough stuff. So glad you have discovered Wikimedia Commons. Sounds wonderful!!

    Anyone who likes Rodin will also love sculptor Houdon. Please tell Larisa!

    Hugs, OM

    1. Hi OM! I emailed Larisa with your message, though she may have seen it here. (I never know when she’s “lurking”!) Thank you for stopping by. 🙂 I miss working with you in the quote library at Gaia… Hope you’re not going through too much “tough stuff.” (((hugs)))

  2. Not tough compared to your life!! We have a new structure for the Quotes Library now. Not very searchable and not very detailed, but we are combining individual blogs of our favorite quotes, listed, with a Group and some categories under which we post quotes. At least some are finally becoming available!!

  3. This is such a lovely piece of writing and it made me think of all the first days of snow – I do remember them. I like to be outside in the winter too, but am rather delighted that here we rarely have snow, but can drive to good skiing, hiking and great snow in about 90 minutes…I walked in the rain this morning with my rake in hand to clean leaves out of the drains which were covered in leaves like plastic wrap.

    Yesterday was my last day of work evaluating grants for our state projects and I loved the work, the intense discussions and was so overjoyed to be able to wander and walk in the rain today….your words brought me back to that refreshment.

    Hope aunt is comfortable…such hard days and exhausting in a whole other realm.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Patricia. 🙂 Walking in the rain is a lot of fun, too. Those leaves can also be amazingly slick when they’re wet. We often hear cars on the road skidding over them. Auntie’s a little better, but we are starting the process of getting her into an assisted living program.

  4. Hi Barbara, I love the painting (what a find!) and the quote. Thank you also for the term “snowlight,” I was at a loss to describe this when I was admiring the first snow recently and this describes it so well. It really is a magical light. I’m sorry to hear that your Aunt is going through hard times. Take good care and I look forward to more of your winter stories!

    1. You’re welcome, Cait, it warms my heart to know that you know exactly what I’m talking about! Snowlight must be some sort of combined reflection of sunlight off the clouds and snow – whatever causes it I love the mood. And the closer to dusk it gets the more enchanting it is. Between Google Books for quotes and Wikimedia Commons for paintings I’ve found a boundless source of inspiration! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I’m sorry about your Aunt. Broken ribs on top of everything else… poor thing.

    What a lovely word ‘snowlight’.
    I’m not a fan of snow except when it has first fallen, when I fall into a sense of wonder. I find extremes of temperature difficult to tolerate and so when it snow stays put, the cold and the constant white tends to get me down. That said, I have memories from childhood that keep me going, of snowball fights and attempts (never very successful) of building snowmen, and the painting above is reminiscent of a Christmas card I received as a wee little thing and loved!
    Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Val. Getting old is not for the faint of heart. Poor Auntie. Everything takes longer to heal and it seems like treating one health problem causes another one to present itself. Add a little confusion to the mix and it makes for very long days…

      Your mention of snowball fights reminded me of the forts Beverly and I used to build at the end of or driveway, and the igloo my father once built for us when were tiny. We could walk into it but he couldn’t fit through the door and follow us in, and we thought that was hysterical and so wonderful!

      I have to admit I’m finding it harder to tolerate extremes of temperature, too, which frustrates me when I have to go inside for a spell before I’m done shoveling. The only time snow bothers me is when it gets all dingy and icy – then it loses its charm!

  6. Oh I wasn’t pleased at all to see that slush masquerading as snow on my deck the other morning! The only time I am a fan of that type of weather is when it gets me a 2-hour delay for the start of work (school)! I’d be quite happy if it snowed lightly and prettily on Christmas Eve and melted on Dec. 26th, not to return until the next Christmas Eve. Although my dogs would beg to differ with me.

    1. 🙂 Oh Karen, you sound a lot like our local meteorologist on TV. He tries very hard never to mention anything to do with winter, which he refers to as “the w-word.” He even apologizes when he is forced to utter the word “snow.” The schools in our town had a 90 minute delay Monday. A little preview of things to come. 🙂 But I agree, it’s nice to have light little flurries sometimes, especially around the holidays and when one needs to travel.

  7. Lovely post, Barbara. I share your sentiments about the snow and the light it brings with it. I never seem to tire of it. There’s been snow on the mountains around us but it hasn’t yet reached the villages. Instead we seem to be suspended in an ‘Indian autumn’, with warm, burnished days filled with light. The leaves are like golden sparks when they fall. Today I’m going to walk along a river where I know badgers have a sett and see if I can find any other signs of them. Though to be honest, I’m eager for snow as well, when following the paths of animals is about as wonderful as it gets. Hope you’re well, and sorry to hear about your aunt…

  8. So sorry to hear about Auntie’s stuggles with health and ribs. Ouch. Send her our love and tell her she’s in our prayers.
    You speak so well of snow and snow-light, bringing the crisp hush and the heavy white into my California sun room where autumn reigns and we claim that 70 degrees is chilly. I remember one night in England – Totnes,that is, in Devon. I sang in the choir. After practicing for Christmas services, we left St Mary’s at ten pm, walking down the hill-fort town, this choir of twenty eight, perhaps waking the sleeping souls inside. The medieval High street had been transformed and hushed by white, glowing beneath the castle walls; new-fallen snow reflected almost too bright on the cobbled street – a full moon held reign in the coal-black northern sky, carrying our voices high, trilling intruders we sang, Oh Holy Night and walked each other home, chorus thinning as each member left the group and entered their own front door. My voice was last but one, and as I waved the final figure good bye, I heard her sigh, and sing a solitary Silent Night…Holy Night….across the River Dart until her voice faded into the gentle hush of nimbus lightened snow.

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