Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Magical snowflaking

This morning I found my car under a light dusting of snow...not so unusual the last couple months.  I started it up and, as the engine warmed, I brushed off the snow from my windows.  Then I got inside and fastened my seatbelt...and a single, tiny, perfectly white, six-pointed snowflake landed on the glass directly in front of me...and I felt as if I'd slipped into another world, for a moment.

I'm somewhat used to seeing the snow come down in clumps and batches, and sometimes when I look out my window I imagine it to be playful faeries caught in the joy of the breezes dancing around them.  But this time...this time it was as though one had noticed me and stopped to look back at this creature who would not join in the fun.  It was quickly joined by others -- not in huge numbers but a few here and there, each one just as precise and lovely as its companions, and all of them just as focused on me as though they were tiny little beings and not merely slivers of ice.  How could I help but smile at the thought?

I'd always known snow comes down in six-pointed designs, supposedly no two flakes alike, but I'd never actually considered the reality of it.  The simple tender elegance it carries.  The startling understanding that something you've been told exists -- and that you believed and accepted without ever actually seeing for yourself -- it is the honest truth.

I don't know what this means, yet...if anything.  If it really could count as a moment of grace in my world.  All I can see right now is how long that charming, delicate, tiny white thing stayed on my windshield, watching me as I drove on to work...until it became bored and flitted away, joining with the others as they danced in the playful breezes.

God, how I wish I could have joined it.

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