Secret Snow

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Having finally had this year’s very-late first proper snowfall, it’s time to explore the wonders of the white stuff. Almost every kid loves the snow, as much for its fun aspects as its power to close school. For me, it was, and remains, the enchanting blanket that transformed forests and streets, houses and hills, the ugly and the dead, into something magical, something beautiful, something pristine and perfect. It was, far quicker than time, the great equalizer. It stilled and silenced, and hushed the world with one fell swoop.

When I was little, I used to traipse out into the forest behind our house, bundled up in a snowsuit so heavy and thick I could barely walk, in moon boots and mittens so clumsy it’s a wonder I didn’t simply roll about like some tottering weeble. Somehow I made it into the woods, where I would spend hours sliding down banks, making snow forts, hiding beneath the snowdrifts beside drooping evergreens, and imagining worlds of solitude and wonder. I wandered alone in the beauty, content with what was suddenly sublime. Trails of squirrels and rabbits were ghostly reminders that others were around, somewhere, and it was enough just to know. The quiet back then was not eerie, the stillness not worrisome, and when it snows now I go back to that peace, and I remember.

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