Saturday, December 19, 2009
<------- Even the birds are snowed in!
The DC area doesn't get a lot of snow. We might get a few inches here and there a year if we're lucky. It's usually enough to cancel school for a day, since no one in DC seems to know how to navigate snowy roads. We usually get enough to make a snowman or go sledding or have a snowball fight, but then it melts away and we're back to the gray dreariness of winter in the mid-Atlantic.
Every once in awhile, though, we'll get a real snowfall. The kind that tucks you inside your house with hot cocoa or has snow boots, gloves, hats, and scarves jumbled on the mat by the door, dripping with the remnants of hours of outdoor play.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably know that "every once in awhile" blew into DC (well, a lot of the east coast, really) on Friday night and didn't let up until about midnight Sunday morning.
I really love the way the world looks covered by snow. Everything is so fresh and clean and perfectly smooth on the surface. Even the ugly, man-made things like power lines and telephone poles don't seem to mar the beauty of the landscape as much when they're covered with snow. I love the gingerbread feeling of the houses when their roofs are iced with snow, and icicles dangle from their gutters and porch awnings. Even the roads disappear beneath a blanket of snow, and the contrast between lawns and asphalt is lost in that pure whiteness
almost as if God is saying, "THIS is how I created things."
I do love all that, but the really magical thing about it is how quiet it makes everything. DC suburbs are generally LOUD. Even at night, there are cars whizzing by, planes and helicopters flying overhead, and occasional sirens disrupting the normal noisiness. When everything is coated in two feet of snow, though, the world becomes deathly still, and I can imagine how the night must sound to characters in my stories--characters who live in times free of sirens and motors and televisions blathering on about how you can't possibly live without the new slicer/chopper/blender/do-your-homework-for-you thingamabob. (Okay to be fair, it wasn't the snow that eliminated that last one but the "off" button on the remote.) Anyhow, as I stood outside listening to the sound of silence, I got inside my characters' heads for awhile and envisioned their world--a world that is both simpler and more complicated than mine.