I'm not sure what it is about snow that I find so enchanting. Perhaps it's a result of fond childhood memories – growing up on the Gulf Coast, snow meant either a day off from school or a ski vacation in Colorado. Snow was something exotic, usually seen for only one week a year. I learned to associate it with cold hands, hot chocolate, and underutilized winter gear.
At Andover, though, there always seemed to be too much snow, whether it was blowing across the Great Lawn into my face or piling up outside Taylor Hall. Snow was what rudely forced prefects and proctors to wake up shivering underclassmen who grumblingly shoveled the icy walks before breakfast. Snowy days were also when I missed home most, when traffic and drawls and decent guacamole all seemed too far away.
Of course, I'm certainly not the only person for whom snow holds such emotional significance – there must be something universally compelling about crystalline water ice. Maybe it has to do with the brilliant whiteness, a welcome respite from the browns and grays of winter scenery?
Or perhaps the fact that no two snowflakes are identical, and yet entire blizzards combine to form uniformly white landscapes.
Or the fact that snow is painstakingly egalitarian, doing its best to smooth out all life's flaws under a thick layer of nature's lightest cotton. Even the frailest tree branches are graced with frozen divinity. Anything, anyone, any thought becomes perfectible.
Or something about the quiet. Nothing like the splashing of its unrefined cousin or the ominous thundering of summer storms, just a muffled world of pure white. (Usually, though, I can't help but hear roaring music.)
More than anything else, I'm captivated by the earthward flight of individual snowflakes from someplace more compassionate than here. Each flake seems to defy both time and gravity as it dances gently to the inaudible beat of a meticulously choreographed masterpiece. And at the end, how elegantly understated, how breathtakingly deliberate the entire show is!