I – I love snow. Even after 34 years in this cold mountain kingdom, snow fascinates me. Each storm brings an infinite variety of ice crystals as uncountable as stars. Every new snow I can’t resist using a complex scientific tool, the plastic ruler, to measure the depth of the magic white stuff on our back deck.
Ancient cultures with long winters (Winter is Coming) described snow in practical ways: consistency, stability, and color. Survival depends on knowing the condition of the snow and ice under your feet. Our modern culture describes snow as if it were food or fantasy: dry, sparkling, powder, granular, snow cream, ice storm, dancing snow, flurrying snow.
Our twenty-first century protection against the cold has evolved to a high level, and we think we’ve passed the need to know snow’s makeup. But snow hasn’t changed. It remains a great equalizer, keeping humans in their place in the natural world. As we flow down glittering slopes on streamlined boards or float over champagne powder on roaring snow machines, our ancient instincts still guide us – hopefully. We need to respect the unknown depths, the white masses disguising crevasses, and the mounds of flakes hiding unknown risks between the pines.
Whether inside or outside, rejoice and let it snow.
Do you build a snowman, or would you rather stay in the warmth, sipping hot chocolate?