Renewed Winter Wonderland

Today is the first day of the second snowstorm in Boston this winter season, the first of the new year. I, in my infinite wisdom, am sitting cozily at work rather than cozily at home. Why did I drag my sorry self out of bed, through the snow, and into the office? I don’t know. My boss isn’t here. In fact, the major percentage of the office isn’t here. Who is here? Myself, the other admin in my area, the intern, and our newest employee, just out of grad school. Oh, and the part-time HR lady. So that shows you where the real dedication to our office lies. Or the real naiveté. Or maybe just the people who still live within reach of public transportation. Anyway, I’m looking at a long day of doing not much.

True, there are some benefits to coming into work today. I don’t have to take care of my sick boyfriend, who is also working from home – instead I have no responsibilities. I get to spend more lovely time writing online with all of you. I may be able to find something profitable for myself to do. And I did get to go outside into the sunshine for awhile, get icy snow particles up my nose, and avoid snowblindness. So that’s good.Outside the office window

And to be honest, it is quite beautiful outside. The world is silent, and almost a little misty with blown snow obscuring visibility. There are no birds, and few people. Corina was remarking how Harvard Square was like the aftermath of a nuclear bomb-just no one and nothing visible, which is very rare. I wish I could show you what I was seeing on my way to work today, but as usual, I forgot my camera, so you’ll just have to imagine a bit and make do with these shots from my cell phone.

Snow obscures the landscape and the sky, yes, making driving more difficult. But it also blankets the world in loveliness, softening the jagged edges and covering the dirt and grime of our typical city existence. It redefines shapes with low contours – the sidewalks, the protruding eaves of buildings, the lettering of signs. It beautifies the tops of tree branches, giving the bare exposed limbs new winter life with little snowy flowerets. It silences the world, muting the everyday noises but filling your hearing with swirls of wind, numbing your ears. It makes my life difficult, yes, but for its strangeness, for its break in the monotony of my winter life, and for its beauty, I am grateful for it, and grateful to have been out in it today.

Tree ‘reflowering’

Sunlight makes things better

I have recently made a commitment to myself to try and observe more of the world around me on a daily basis. It’s true, that I live in an old city, so there’s built-up infrastructure and concrete everywhere, but even the ugliest part of city life can have redeeming qualities.

Today for me it was the snow remainder. I don’t mean the still-white patches that were glowing in the sun, or the gentle drip of the melting eaves of houses. I mean the gross stuff that’s been churned up from the streets liberally coated and mixed with motor oil. It’s the kind of big messy piles that you really hope you don’t even have to walk across for fear of contamination. When the sun hits them just right, the icy surface places refract like crystals, like strange geodes embedded in a duller, more sullen rock matrix.

It made me think about the sun in general – how long-ago peoples, my ancestors, worshiped its return in spring, dancing or singing or otherwise recalling it to life and vigor. It reminds me of the way grass looks greener in the afternoon. It reminds me if I want to paint color, I should do it in the afternoon, when the angle of the light reveals the world at it’s richest. I don’t know the principles of why this is true. Like the flintknappers of the past, I don’t know the physics of the thing, I just know that if you hit the rock here, it will carry the force through to there, splitting and cracking along a certain plane of force.

When I wake up in the morning now, it’s still to a vague dawn light. It makes me want to crawl back under the covers again. But by the time I’ve gotten ready and stepped outside to walk to the bus stop, the sun is up and smiling. It puts a little jig in my step.