I am not a huge fan of snow. It wasn’t always this way. As a young child in Georgia, I only ever even saw the stuff once or twice, and it was pure fairytale when it happened. We moved north when I was still in elementary school, but the snow’s new commonness didn’t dull its magic. Even in my twenties, in New York City, I still fell for it hard – the way it softened the avenues, and in a way also softened us city folk to one another, as we all hunkered down with scarves and paper cups of coffee against the bitter winds on subway platforms, chastened for a spell by a force bigger than our busyness. As the thermometer dropped my first winter there, I took to walking everywhere I could; I’d had a rough winter the year before and figured the best path to a happy February was to be out there in the thick of it.
I don’t know where I lost the love. I just know that since leaving New York, when the snow falls – and here in central Virginia, sometimes that is every week or two during the winter and sometimes it is almost not at all – I am grateful for hot coffee and a blazing fire and the couch.
So. It snowed here this weekend. We were packing, furiously, and certainly I looked out the windows as I scuttled about the house with moving boxes and old letters and more coffee and more bags for Goodwill. That’s pretty I thought. Oh look I thought, it’s still coming down. But just as quickly I’d turn back to the boxes.
I don’t know what made me really see it. I was standing at a sink, drying my hands. I was looking through a west-facing window, at the giant oak near the house and at the old Paulownia and younger redbuds behind it and at the greenhouse behind them all. It was all very pleasant. But then my gaze fixed on the flakes not two feet in front of me, and then – it was all very quiet. I wasn’t thinking about how much there is to do in the next two weeks. I wasn’t wondering when the farm will sell. I wasn’t daydreaming about paint colors in the new house. There was only snow. I put down my hand towel and watched. The flakes were big and they were coming down hard, swirling just like maple seed pods.
The weekend – indeed, the whole last week – has been like that. That is: we leave in two weeks and there is much unresolved. Some of it will feel settled the minute our small caravan pulls onto the highway that first Monday morning in March. But we are months away – at best – from a truly clean start.
And yet: grace. Grace in the tireless focus and good cheer of my mother, who must have packed forty boxes of books single-handedly in addition to helping me turn all my mountains into molehills. Grace in the rusty nails and old linoleum and grace in every trip my father took to Lowe’s for more moving boxes, more plumbing supplies, more lumber. Grace in the laughter of our friends who came midweek bearing lasagna, bread, salad, and wine. Grace in the pot of soup shared with more friends the following night. Grace in the unexpected box of so-very-much-needed treats in the mail. Grace in our little guy’s sudden calm about the move. Grace in the smiling arrival of an old old friend who will farmsit for us for the next several months. Grace in Season 1 of Friday Night Lights. Grace in a pint of Newcastle and in paper trays piled high with chicken wings. Grace in the hum of the dryer, the warble of the coffee pot, the rising of the biscuits, the quiet of the snow.
(joining Amanda at The Habit of Being)