The world, muffled in the snow globe, then washed clear

I have been thinking for days about writing a post about snow, and, lo and behold, it’s snowing again!  It’s so great with the universe comes through like that.  Of course, it’s been snowing almost non-stop since December 26th, so possibly it’s a coincidence.  When I look out my office window, whose four panes frame so many hours of my gazing out at the world, it looks like I live in a snow globe.

People always write about the “muffled” quality of snow, about its quiet, the silence it lends to the world.  For me this is absolutely true when it’s snowing.  There is an outside-of-real-life feeling when the sky is mottled with moving white snowflakes.   Maybe it’s a vestige of childhood snow days, maybe it’s the way movement in the outside world is slowed down to a crawl.  Something just floats over me, a gossamer cape of wonder, a reminder to breathe and watch.  The snow globe is a good place to live, insulated from the real world, the rough jolts of life somehow less jarring, muted.

And yet when it’s no longer snowing, but the world is covered with snow, I don’t find it muffled at all.  It’s the opposite: I find it sharp, its clarity in such high definition that sometimes it hurts.  Pam Houston’s words always come to mind: “When everything in your life is uncertain, there’s nothing quite like the clarity and precision of fresh snow and blue sky.”  There’s something wide-awake, hyper-saturated and, as she says, precise, about life with clear skies overhead and snow underfoot.  Emerging from my swaddled time in the snowglobe, everything seems purified, clarified, washed clear by the white everywhere.

Today I knelt on the floor by my office window and watched the flakes fall.  This afternoon they were huge, big clumps of snowflakes dropping out of the pale steel-gray sky.  Watching them, I remembered the passage in Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years about how “each snowflake bore the scars of its journey.”  I looked up into the sky, straining to see as far as I could.  I thought of another time that I instinctively knelt, when, just like today, “…I have felt a presence that disturbs me with the joy of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime of something far more deeply interfused.”

Another thing about snow: it is practically impossible (at least for a hack like me) to take pictures that capture the falling snow.  Hello, metaphor.  You just have to watch.  Pay attention.  Inscribe it on the vellum of memory.  What you see is what you get.

7 thoughts on “The world, muffled in the snow globe, then washed clear”

  1. I have a love/hate relationship with snow. But what you describe here is precisely true. It’s comes on like a blanket for the soul and leaves a crispness that is fresh and jarring. We sadly haven’t had much snow up here. That means it has been very cold. I’m longing for a really good old fashioned Canadian snowstorm.

  2. What a perfect description – and the juxtaposition of the quiet blanket and the crisp brilliance. We don’t see a lot around here, but we all love it when we do. And I spent every vacation of my childhood in the precision that was snow in the New Mexico mountains under brilliant skies. I miss that. Enjoy!

  3. Oh, you are a wonder.

    I love the title. Pure Lindsey.

    And yes, to the soft whisper and the hush.

    And yes, too, to the brilliance of the sun on snow against blue sky.

    Hard to hide anything in that kind of light.


  4. Wow, Lindsey. This is gorgeous…and so true. I’ve felt that quiet other-worldliness of the actual snowfall and the crisp exhilaration of the clear days that follow. But I never thought, until I read this, of how one comes after the other, in the same way that precision and clarity of thought often follows those times when I feel muffled, or slightly insulated from the world. Enjoy your lovely snow. It just rains here…a lot, in the winter.

  5. Beautiful entry, Lindsey, thank you. You capture the magical qualities of snow, easy to forget when frustrated in traffic or yearning for spring. And you are by no means a hack. Beautiful picture from the window, and I love your last sentences “Inscribe it on the vellum of memory.” Wonderful!

  6. I love how you describe the post-snow experience. So true. Jarring and bold, such a switch from the soft blanketing. (And I love seeing the view from your office window.) xo

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