Saturday, January 8, 2011

Indescribable Snow

It snowed this week for the first time this winter, a light one inch that has almost covered the ground and turned our farm so white. Today the sun is shining brightly and the air is mild so I enjoyed a leisurely stroll through our property. Whenever it snows for the first time, I inevitably think of an Australian family I met years ago when I was travelling through Europe. The children had never seen snow before and they were so disappointed that while they could get glimpses of snow high up in the Alps, they could not actually experience it up close. I was amazed to think they had never seen snow before and attempted to describe it, but quickly  came to the conclusion that it is very hard to describe to someone who has never seen it for themselves.

Not even pictures can do justice to snow.  Can a picture really capture the dazzling brightness of snow as it reflects the sun back into your eyes in millions of prisms?

And how can mere words or even a picture portray snow's lovely fluffiness and the way it caresses the plants on which it lands, like the softest of down comforters.

Or the way it can frost the top of a box like icing on a cake?

Can a picture capture the depths of the shadows that lie across its surface lengthening the most average of trees into veritable forests of stretching timber?

And still reveal how the snow delicately lines each branch as if an artist's brush has gently stroked over each fine detail.....

and then moved on to transform garden ornaments with a palette knife loaded with titanium white.

But it isn't just the look of snow that's hard to describe ... it's what the snow reveals - like the tracks of a hopping bird, foraging for food.

And the secret midnight dance of the rabbits as they court under the winter sky....

Or the path of a lone cat, stalking silently by with its green eyes focused on a mission only he can comprehend.

These are the messages found in the snow, the stories it whispers, the secrets it reveals.  It covers the ground, but exposes so much more.  Even the goldfinch, wearing his drab winter plumage, is more easily spotted when the rosehips have donned their winter caps of snow.

And the junko, practically unnoticeable in summer and fall, becomes a focal point with his soft charcoal feathers set against a white backdrop.

I have concluded that snow is indescribable, a miracle best experienced in person. Second-hand knowledge just won't suffice. I hope, wherever you are, you have the opportunity to enjoy a little snow this winter.


  1. :) And then there's the smell and sound of snow - or the way it muffles the sounds around...

  2. i have concluded that your writing is indescribable! beautiful lovely post! thanks for sharing!

  3. those pictures are great Helen! and I agree that your writing is wonderful!

  4. The chances of us getting snow this year are slim to NONE. Most likely, none. We did get a nice bit of it in February 2010. I'm really hoping for more this year. I hope for it every year! We used to get it when I was growing up almost every single year. Not so much in the low-country though. Your post was lovely--pictures and words. Your writing is very poetic.

  5. that was so beautiful Helen.. if I had no sight.. your words would have described it to me as though I could fully see.. what a dear you are to have such a talent and share it.. but I must conclude... I hate snow.. not for snow's sake... but because... it brings it's friends along to the party, cold, ice, wind and darkness... ah can't wait to see what yu post about Spring!!!....Di W.

  6. Grace, you are so right! I love the way snow muffles sound. It makes the whole world seemed hushed ... which is quite something to experience in our busy, noisy lives!

    Empty Nester, I really hope you get at least a little bit of snow this year! I'm glad I don't live where we would get foot after foot of the stuff, but I do enjoy it in small doses. :)

  7. thanks again Helen ...

  8. Snickering at your dislike of snow Di! You have a way with words yourself, my friend! :D

  9. You are so right! NO , photo's can not do snow justice. The other night me and my husband came home late at night and the lights from the car was shining on the looked like millions of diamonds. it was so beautiful.
    Have a pretty day!



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