Think of all the snow you’ve ever seen in your life falling from the sky. Little flurries blown from the treetops, snowflakes dropping out of the sky and landing like dandruff in your hair, tasting fresh snowy dew on the tip of your tongue as you run through a cascading waterfall of snow…snow…snow.
Total all the snow up in your head, inch upon inch, and try to quantify just how much you’ve seen.
How much did you get?
For me? Not even a foot.
Being from Maui, I can count on one hand the times I’ve seen snow. I can total all those beautiful snowflakes up to a whole snowman about the size of my fist. Impressive, I know…
So when snowflakes the size of pennies started falling from the sky, I wasn’t just shocked by how swiftly it all added up, I was dumbfounded. I skyped with my parents at home and showed them my new winter playground and we went for walks around campus from miles and miles apart. My catchphrase whenever anyone from home would call was this, said with as much enthusiasm and hope as a five-year-old asking for ice cream: “Do you want… To see… The snow???” Please! Let me share the snow with you! It’s so pretty! And it shines as bright as diamonds! And it smells like sugar cookies and rainbows!
In a matter of days, the weather reports claimed that Seattle received a record-breaking 22-inches of wintry freshness. Forget Olaf in summer, I was Katie in the snow, and I was not going to melt! I had stepped through my wardrobe and into a different world full of whispering trees, talking animals, and winter wonders all around! We had three snow days in a row at Saint Martin’s, and I had to sit on the floor with my back turned to the window in order to get any homework done. What can I say? Snow is soooooooo distracting!
On the very last of our snow days, as the silvery blankets began to melt away, I set up shop in Harned Hall’s lounge to get some work done. After days in my room, I was succumbing to cabin fever and just needed to get out.
As I sat there doing my readings for class, I watched as a little girl in a pink coat trekked through the snow to the top of the hill next to the library. She had a matching pair of pink gloves and a purple hat, and at the top of the hill she met a man with a gray beard. He held a bright orange sled for the little girl as she hopped on, crossing her legs in front of her and grabbing on tightly to the sides.
A “ready,” a “set,” and then off she went, flying down the hill with the speed and finesse of a race car driver.
Up and then down, again and again she went, and all the while, I could feel her joy even from behind the glass. That pure, sweet joy that childhood brings where the world is big and bright and full of promise.
For me, snow brings back all that joy and promise, that magical hope that everything will be alright, that right here, right now, from this very moment, only good things can come.
This is the magic that snow brings, as we gather by the fire with our loved ones, all clutching mugs with frosted fingertips, sharing stories that transport us to another time, another place. We aren’t warm because of the fire, we are warm because we can take a step back, take a deep breath, and feel the love that surrounds us.
This is the feeling that I hold on to, that with enough hope, with enough love, we can fix anything. We believe in the impossible because we believe in the people we see all around us with smiling faces and shining eyes, and nothing is impossible anymore.
When I think of this, I feel like the little girl with the pink coat as she sat with her dad in Harned Hall after a day in the snow.
“Are you ready to leave?” he asked, and he chuckled as his daughter shook her head.
“Alright then, when?”
She took her time, muffling her words with one giggle after another while she wiped melting snow from her hair. Her face lit up with a smile that could win the heart of a lion. “Never.”