When You're Waiting for the First Snowfall

before-the-first-snowfallWhen you're waiting for that first snowfall of the year, the air feels really still and sharp; like you could slice the moisture right out of the sky.

Today people were talking about "it" coming. The guy on the radio went out of his way to remind people to take their time driving in the snow. I never understand how people can forget how to drive in dicy conditions. It's the same thing every year; the snow hits and there's a pile up on the highway because some people forgot to leave two chevrons and then the guy in the front had to stop quickly.

When I was in grad school, I used to live in Lowertown. There was this dog park not far from my apartment and as a bit of a break from the grind that is this time of the University semester, I would walk the trail along the water. When I walk I get hot quickly so at first the thin wool coat feels inadequate. But then I warm up. I have this one specific memory; it must be almost exactly five years ago this week. There were two terms papers left to finish (Humanitarian Law, and Sociology of Development) so I plugged myself into my trusty old iPod, and found the path that I had become familiar with that fall - to move a little before starting the works cited list.

When I got to the other side of the river, the trees, their leaves were gone. The puddles had started to freeze; the mud was cracking. And the dogs and their owners at the dog park I frequented (because I liked the look of company, such a change from my solitary apartment and laptop), they were looking up at the sky and waiting for the snow to start. First one flake, then the next. By the time I got home there was a thin, crocheted blanket on the concrete sidewalk.

It's that time of year when in the daylight we have left, the light plays tricks on you. The sun always seems to be on an angle, shining directly into your eyes so to distract you from what's coming. And then, it's gone. The sky is just a muffled grey, growing heavier until you fall asleep.

The anticipation of "it" starting is what seasons do to us. Yesterday it was clear and bright; last week it was mild, before that the leaves hadn't yet all fallen, and a month ago I was wearing a t-shirt. So subtle were the changes.

But tonight, it's almost as if you can hear the air through the window pane; That cold front moving in isn't quiet, but it's stealth.

And when you wake up, what was on the sky's ceiling, is now covering the ground.