Wednesday, February 25, 2015

what a flake

in one of my family's first home movies that exists with me in it, i'm looking out of the picture window at snow falling. lots of it. piling up in our front yard, my brother and sister out in it in their snow clothes. it's hard to imagine that we all actually had snow clothes back in the late 50s, but we did, and when the movie cuts to the next day, there i am out in the snow myself, my chubby self puffed out in a snow suit.

maybe it's because i was born in the heat of august that i have been enchanted by snow from my very smallest self. whenever i heard the song "Suzy Snowflake," i wanted to be her. who wouldn't want to be dressed in a snow white gown and tap on every window pane  in town and invite all the boys and girls out to play, knowing they would come? now that would be something. and have Rosemary Clooney sing about you? i mean, really? what could be more magical. Frosty the snowman melted, and Suzy Snowflake would only be around for a short time. like candy at Halloween.

she had power, that suzy, enchanting, turning bushes into popcorn balls, as the child's poem went, transforming herself like Cinderella, all glittery in the moonlight. 

we used to cut out snowflake shapes in school. we folded and cut in complicated patterns. snowflakes, it appeared to me, were part if a special design created by something or someone quite artistic, and i wanted to know more about how this could be.

i loved snow as a child, even though it didn't come very often. i used to sit with the World Book and ponder the snowflake pictures, their shapes so intricate that i knew instinctively that their creation was not possible by accident.,and i wondered if they really looked like the designs we made. but it took only standing out in the snow for a little while, watching those flakes fall, to discover that yes, snowflakes, for real, can look just like that. 

could something that created a beautiful Suzy Snowflake have created the same beauty in me? i wondered. i believe this was my first understanding of God.

what i love about snowflakes: no two are alike. they are formed from water and temperature and altitude into something not short of a miracle. just like each one of us. (well, maybe not the altitude part, but you never know.)

yesterday, when the first flakes began to fall just at daybreak when we were out on our daily walk, i noticed something. as my sleeve caught the ice, those same shapes i had cut from paper as a child fell onto my sleeve — iced lace — and i imagined Suzy Snowflake tapping once again (though technically, she would be Suzy Sleet) at my window, begging me to join the party. 

like the finest jewelry — faceted and etched and sculpted — beauties all, created not by human hand but by someone bigger than i could imagine. 

i took a picture (that my weatherman friend wants to use in a case study for the national weather service.) dendrites he says they are, formed at special temperatures, and they are 'efficient accumulators.' later i ventured out to take a new picture, and the tiny shapes were gone, though snow still fell. 

≠≠≠

i'd like to think of myself as an efficient accumulator, although that feels a little FAT.

but if you take the fat out of it, that accumulator could be of friends, of ideas, of hope, of creativity, of love, of family, of faith — the very things i need every single day, to complete the delicate facets that make me. 

fat flakes fall at my house now, the third of three storms that have taken hold of us in the past 10 days. as i write, they have taken hold of the deck, the street. but come morning, they will cling together, making the world white again. look closely though. at what makes it glisten.







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