The same yesterday, today and always. I am writing about that initial moment when flakes come tumbling down and begin to cover a grey-brown land. Yes, we know the cold nights and shorter days are here. We’ll be out shovelling and complaining about plugging in those vehicles but still, there is something nostalgic about watching the transformation as one season gracefully gives way to another. Then inch by inch, the Master Artist covers everything with heavenly white. The garden and back yard clutter and old bench and trellis become a winter wonderland…And…
Where I take scads of pictures, run into the house with wet slippered feet and live happily ever after!
NO! I really haven’t had a brain freeze or anything. I don’t need a ‘reality’ check.
Remember…I am only writing about the ‘first snowfall’. Where I sneak out to my yard & close my eyes, while letting those frosty flakes land on my face and tongue. Then I am happily snapping photos and retreating to my own little perfect world writing about the wonders of new snow.
Until I have start going out to scrape the ice off my windshield every morning like everyone else. But…
The artist in me wants to immediately get my brushes and paint trees with marshmallowy branches. The rusty old bench outside that needs painting looks picturesque and the ugly wire fence puts Spider Web’s Lace in second place. When the sun shines on it tomorrow, it will twinkle with a million sparkling diamonds.
I miss painting with my sister Alice. She knew exactly how to paint the many colors in snow. It wasn’t just a quick slab of titanium white at all. There was ochre, sage, blues, and mauves of every hue. She could paint trees in a way that made them stand out in 3-D. I have watched her spend hours just working on layers of detailed branches. I can’t seem to get back to my painting without her just yet. I wish I could finish all the work I’ve begun because I know that’s what she would want for me.
We never missed calling each other when the first snow appeared. Our conversation was always about our yen to get our painting gear out & paint the old dead oak or spruce trees over in Mrs. Who- So- Ever’s, front yard, etc. After her trees, she always painted in a cozy little cabin, with warm inviting lights in the windows. I know that’s where a piece of her heart always longed to be.
Just last week, I went racing outdoors to catch the first flakes with our group of after schoolers! The moment we saw those first flakes coming down, age wasn’t a factor! I was in the moment. What a great memory those kids gave me that day and I hope they remember how I enjoyed it without letting my age hinder a fun adventure with them.
We all agreed: Those first flakes tasted ‘icy-lishious! Just as exciting as when I was 6 or 10, 25 or 55!
Then there are some who are happy just to view it all from indoors!
It all starts with the first snowfall. I remember them as a child. I remember them with my children and presently with my grandchildren.
Tucking children into bed for the night and waking up to the happy voices and the sound of feet as they ran from window to window looking out to the snow that magically covered everything in our yard. Zipping up jackets over their jammers, grabbing some mitts (they didn’t have to match, or even be their own) & away they dashed into the newly fallen snow! Making the first snow angels!
It wasn’t a one time thing…it was tradition.
I wrote a poem back then that has been published several times in different children’s magazines over the last 20 years, the most recent was last year in Indian Life, an outreach across Canada & the US. I hope to keep publishing it for the next 20 years. It is a small but timeless peace that although written for the 6-10 age group, anyone of any age can relate to it. See what you think.
THE FIRST SNOWFALL
I Went To Bed
And Through The Night…
God Changed The Colors
From Brown To White!
Out Of My Window
I Looked Far And Near…
I Hadn’t Been Dreaming…
IT WAS FINALLY HERE!
Snow Landed On Our Trees…
Snow Covered The Hedge…
There Was Snow ‘Cross Our Doorstep
And Window Ledge!
All Water In Our Birdbath
Had Turned Into Ice..
Good Thing Dad Made…
A Birdfeeder. Nice!
All Little Furry Friends
Who Travel To And Fro…
Left Tiny Footprints
In The New Fallen Snow!
Our Box For The Mail…
Bright And Shiny Red
Wears A Comfy Blanket
Like The One On My Bed.
The Black Garden Earth,
Now Is Snowy White…
God Did All This…
WHILE WE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT!
I am happy that I have kept writing because I know Alice would want that for me as well. I’m thankful for our good memories that I am able to share through my writing/blog and I know without a doubt she would feel honored that we are keeping her so close to our hearts. Her name is always included in our conversations.
Before I submit an idea with the hope of publishing, I sometimes do a title search, just for my own interest reasons. I like to see what new ideas I can learn from other authors who have come up with the same title before me and know if I have something too similar that’s already out there.
I did this last night for this blog. No particular reason but I am so glad I did. It sent my blog in a new direction and I love when that happens!
I found an extremely interesting poem entitled: THE FIRST SNOWFALL, written by James Russell Lowell. He was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on February 22, 1819, son of Reverend Charles Lowell & attended Harvard University, where he graduated with a law degree in 1841. Shortly after that he published his first collection of poems: A YEAR’S LIFE (Little & J. Brown). He was an ardent abolitionist & widely published in anti-slavery newspapers. He also published a number of literary essays, multiple poetry books, political pamphlets & a series of satirical verses written in opposition to the Mexican War. Along with Wadsworth, Longfellow & Whittier, James Lowell belonged to the group of writers called the Fireside Poets.
In 1853, Lowell’s wife & 3 of their 4 children fell ill and died. After that he returned to Harvard to replace Longfellow as professor of modern language and literature. He taught there for the next 20 years. He continued to publish books of poetry until he died on August 12, 1891. Imagine all that tragedy and he still went on and made the most that he could be of himself!
His poem about the first snowfall is haunting and memorable once you’ve read it. It tells a story totally opposite to my whimsical one. I am going to copy it out here for you. If I hadn’t read it myself, I would never have learned of the grieving heart behind the incredibly talented man. It has touched me and left me in awe.
It has given me a new awareness about all the amazing work by others that I haven’t or may never read.
And it proves to me again, there is always a story, within a story/poem. One of my sister’s own sayings.
THE FIRST SNOWFALL by James Russell Lowell
The snow had begun in the gloaming,
And busily all the night
Had been heaping field and highway
With a silence deep and white.
Every pine and fir and hemlock
Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
And the poorest twig on the elm tree
Was ridged inch deep with pearl.
From sheds new roofed with Carrara
Came Chanticleer’s muffled crow,
The stiff rails softened to swan’s down,
And still fluttered down the snow.
I stood and watched by the window
The noiseless work of the sky.
And the sudden flurries of snow birds,
Like brown leaves whirling by.
I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn
Where a little headstone stood:
How the flakes were folding it gently,
As did robins the babes in the wood.
Up spoke our own little Mabel,
Saying: “Father, who makes it snow?”
And I told of the good All-Father
Who cares for us here below.
Again I looked at the snowfall,
And thought of the leaden sky
That arched o’er our first great sorrow,
When that mound was heaped so high.
I remembered the gradual patience
That fell from that cloud like snow,
Flake by flake, healing and hiding
The scar that renewed our woe.
And again to the child I whispered,
“The snow that husheth all,
Darling, the merciful Father
Alone can make it fall!”
Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her:
And she, kissing back, could not know
That my kiss was given to her sister,
Folded close under deepening snow.
*** James Russell Lowell 1819-1891 ***
This is my reality check this morning…A week, make that 2, after I started this blog! Still snowy beautiful, but definitely…here for awhile.
On the up side, I am in the midst of writing my novel and enjoying blogging ‘way beyond any pre-conceived ideas I started out with. I am waiting with high hopes for news about the bloggers writing contest that will be picked right before Christmas. It’s for a $4000.00 US writing scholarship. Winning that could bring a few of my writing wishes & dreams…into my world.
Thank you & blessings to you, my faithful readers. I truly appreciate each one of you & I love your comments and continual encouragement. Until next blog, this is Memory Lane Site @ www.pagesofmymindblog.com