Every so often I miss snow—miss, for instance, walking in a nice slow snowfall on Christmas Eve (those big wet flakes that melt as soon as they touch earth) on Canyon Road with all the farolitos and the smoky piñon bonfires with carolers gathered around, and hot cider with sticks of cinnamon. Or trudging in good boots through three inches or so on Boston Common, on the way to the map room in Boston Public Library, or to cozy Tealuxe (in the old days) for a small pot of Victorian Rose or Monks Blend tea. Or romping with a dog in deep powder. Or waking in the night and knowing right away it’s snowed, seeing the light of a heavy snowfall seeping through the curtains. Or seeing it painting the distant New Mexico mountains, or the Italian Alps.
The fun is being someplace snug during or after snow, having the tea and maps and fireplace and reading lamp and quilt and dried-off dog to offer contrast. Eating porcini in the Roman town at the foot of the Alps, or standing in the late December sun watching the Deer and Buffalo Dances in the reddish foothills under the Sangre de Cristos—admiring the snow from afar.
That’s why I used to ski, too—for the enormous pleasure of removing those punitive boots after, and having earned the right to sit with my stockingfeet up, by the fire, and drink hot-buttered rum or creamy chocolate, and not move. (And then go home for a hot bubblebath and Star Trek.)
Snowmelt is a favorite concept of mine, the water born of snow, carried by aqueducts or little riverbeds; and nothing seems so hopeful as a crocus or other spring flower poking its pretty nose up from a patch of old snow. One of my touchstone moments is, always, the ninth-grade spring our art class walked up the canyon on a surface of old, packed snow to look for red clay to shape into pots or the figures of gods.
image: My French Country Home