Thursday, December 8, 2011


Out of all meteorological phenomena, my relationship with snow is perhaps the most complicated. As a child, I loved snow--living in the Pacific Northwest, winters were marked by several months of clouds, often accompanied by a near-incessant drizzle. Wholly unpleasant. When it happened to dip into the low 30s, or perhaps even the 20s, the ugly, sputtery rain would transform into serene, intricate flakes which would drift gently to the earth rather than splattering spitefully.

Snow was a welcome change of pace, and it never got too cold to enjoy being outside in the snow. Sledding, snowball fights, building snowmen and snow-forts; these were but a few of the adventures that my brother, sister and I would have on our 20-acre farm when the snow began to fall. Bonus points if it got us out of school.

Then, I went away to Iowa for college. In Iowa, the snow starts to fall in November... and stays around till as late as April. Often it is too cold to enjoy time in the snow, and though it was a beautiful sight to watch from the comfort of my dorm window, that enjoyment was always marred by the dread of having to march 10 minutes across campus in sub-zero, windy temperatures, across an icy wasteland, in order to go to class.

I came to hate snow while I was in Iowa.

However, time heals all wounds. I biked to breakfast this morning in the rain and each drop stung--it was frigid. Rain in the winter is not unusual in Tokyo--just cold enough to hurt, but seldom cold enough to snow. When I settled down for breakfast at a restaurant overlooking the eki, I couldn't help but smile when I looked outside and noticed that the rain had turned to snow. I watched, mesmerized, no less intrigued by the fall of snow now than I was as a child. Later, I simply stood outside and let the snow fall down on me. Then I remembered that I had a cold, and maybe that wasn't the best idea in the world, and I went back inside.

All this to say--I was glad to see the snow today.

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