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by Dianne Hayter, AARP Bulletin, February 27, 2009
First Snow is often a surprise. I enjoy surprises, especially as I age.
I am most alive at First Snow. It heralds the beginning of winter’s dynamic dormancy. First Snow may disappear quickly, reminding me to seize it and not wait for a better opportunity that may not come.
First Snow gives Autumn, my collie/retriever mix, opportunity for adventure. With summer’s oppressive heat banished, her Rin-Tin-Tin persona emerges. Because she and I are often the only ones out for extended walks, First Snow is our intimate secret. We have the world to ourselves.
First Snow reminds me of the exquisite beauty of nature as she dons her white frozen cape and tucks her world into hibernation. She is at her most sensual then, as she beckons the First Snow. It comes from afar, arriving in a blue-purple, dimpled sky roiling with cloud layers that, in summer, signal a thunderous downpour. It has the smell of refrigerator-freezer: clean, pure, frozen water. Its sound—insulated silence—is deafening, filling my ears with imaginary cotton. I have the luxury of appreciating the depth of nature’s repertoire. The minuscule differences in every flake remind me how necessary each is to the wealth of the whole. I remember that my unique contributions support and sustain those around me. And theirs sustain me.
First Snow also signals time to rest well. The sleep and relaxation I missed with quicker paces earlier in the year are curtailed in favor of more quiet, internal interactions and tasks. I have the luxury of deep breaths.
I fall in love with home all over again. I appreciate the way it encapsulates and protects me, supports cocooning, nourishes and sustains me. I stay home more, celebrating within its generous, kind walls. I have the luxury of rebirth.
First Snow curtails activities because it’s more difficult to travel. Whatever challenge or conundrum was not addressed when life was more frenetic now gets a full go-round and, often, resolution. I search my soul, and it returns the favor.
I believe in the magic of First Snow. More importantly, I rely on it.
The AARP Bulletin’s "What I Really Know" column comes from our readers. Each month we solicit short personal essays on a selected topic and post some of our favorites in print and online. Dianne Hayter is a reader from Asheville, N.C.
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