Wednesday, November 14, 2018

To Appreciate the Beauty of a Snowflake

To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold.

~ Aristotle

Last fall - winter hadn't even officially arrived yet - snow fell in Texas. Not the hard, sleet-like snowflakes we had twice before experienced since our move here eight years ago, but the kind of snowflakes that swoop down from the sky in Wisconsin. When I stepped outside and realized what had begun to happen, without warning and completely unexpectedly, tears sprung to my eyes. Almost nothing feels as magical as the first snow of the year, except perhaps the first snow in many years and for some, the first snow ever.

Throughout that evening, the snow became more intense: more flakes, bigger flakes, and flakes we could actually see on the grass. Many of our friends, both child and adult, had never seen snow like that. Nearly everyone we knew - even those who shrivel and shrink at the mention of cold weather - took advantage of Mother Nature's gift that night, venturing outside to experience the overwhelming joy and breathtaking beauty of a simple snowfall.
The first snowball of the night.

Many of my best childhood memories revolve around snowy, wintry weather. Sledding, ice skating, ice boating, building snowmen, having snowball fights, making snow ice cream. (I even enjoy shoveling.) Bundling up in snow pants and scarves...and then removing layer after layer as our bodies warmed. Playing outside for hours, even after our mittens dripped wet from melted snow and our socks slouched down into the toes of our boots. F...i...n...a...l...l...y coming inside to thaw our fingers and toes by the fire and warm our insides with hot chocolate. I have done my best to help Will and Hallie create these kinds of memories during our holiday visits to Nebraska, Illinois, and Wisconsin, but I never could have imagined how happy it would make me to see them creating these memories in - or outside of - their own home. And I couldn't help but think how incredible it was that all of these Texas kiddos were finally getting to create these kinds of memories as well.

Hallie is once again praying for real snow here in Texas. But if those prayers don't come true this year, at least we know we'll have snow when we head north for Christmas.
The view from my sister's bedroom window in Washington, Illinois.
The view from my parents' dining
room window in Madison, Wisconsin.
The view from the kitchen window at the Ferris
family's Lincoln Lodge in Minocqua, Wisconsin.

The four Ferri remember that Thursday night as one of the absolute best we have experienced as Texans. And now, a year later and as family members and friends who live elsewhere in the country post pictures of their first snows of the year, I return in my memories to the that night, and to that feeling of knowing that just for a moment, all was right in the world. 

Also in honor of all of the "first snows" around the country (including ours, which was six wet flakes yesterday morning), a little something to make you laugh on this hump day:

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