I Remember the First Snow

Snow is coming. Not a lot of snow, but probably enough to cover the sidewalks for a few hours. The snowfall that reveals the paw prints of the urban wildlife and homeless animals who come to the yard.

I usually like the snows of January and February. It is cozy and comforting, a blanket that literally drapes across the entire world keeping us warm, providing protection from climate change’s worst effects.

I am restless though.

This is an in-between time for me. I am finalizing the plan that will allow me to return home after four months. I visit twice a week. I’m preparing, but not quite sure when it will happen.

Missing the first snow feels like another moment lost to me along with holidays, my birthday, the crunching of leaves, and so much more. I can’t get those back. I have different memories created with my friends – today I hit my nephew with an unexpected snow ball while he was targeting his younger brother. Aunt Sue for the win.

I have a little ritual during the first snow. I poke my head out the front door, looking up and down the street at the carpet of snow. And I take selfies.

I want to remember those moments when silent stillness wraps the neighborhood as it has since the 1700’s when European colonizers settled in lands that had been occupied by Indigenous peoples for 16,000 years. The snow and the cold and the wind gusts connect us to that time and all the times.

I miss my home. I want to watch the snow through the bathroom window, the West End Bridge in the background connecting us to the rest of the City. Standing on the kitchen deck, looking at the pawprints decorating the fallen snow, from feeding stations to the winter shelters stuffed with straw. I can see the snow piled delicately on the cable lines, dislodged in a cascade when a bird takes off.

I miss stomping my boots when I enter the house, quickly peeling off layers to dry on the coat rack, and reaching for a blanket or a cup of tea. Or both.

Today when we came in from a family birthday meal, I realized with a start that I didn’t know where to stomp my boots or put them to dry. Where are the hats and mittens placed to warm? None of these things came up in the past four months and as I enter my fifth month, I find myself still navigating foreign waters.

I miss my home.

Where do you put your mittens and stomp your boots?


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