My First Sighting of Snow

I have fond memories of sighting the first snow fall of the year since I was a kid. I remember getting so excited looking out the window with my brother at the first flakes that fell. We would run outside and try to catch them in our mouths. We would let them fall on our wool coats and count the six points and tell each other that no two were the same. We could never figure that out, and I could never understand how they knew that for sure. I always liked to imagine that one in North America matched one on the South Pole, and until I am proven wrong I will go on believing that it is true!

I also recall being in high school, tenth grade I believe. I was sitting in the library of the new wing of Mt. Lebanon High School (outside of Pittsburgh, PA) not wanting to study (as usual) and looking out the window and all of a sudden it started to happen. It was slow. At first I was not sure that I had seen them. But as I watched, and time passed, I saw more fall. Then more, and more, and it was definitely snowing! Yes! Call off school, let's get out of here and do something meaningful like build some snowpeople! Well of course that was not the case. But I remember sitting there thinking that this was a special moment that I would remember for ever. And so far that is true. Every year when I see the first snow fall I think of that day sitting there in my brown chord pants thinking about the snow and then realizing that I would get in trouble with my mother if I got snow, or more specifically mud, in those new, still not comfortable trousers.

But yes, fond memories. Days gone by. I recall our first winter in Rochester and the first sighting there. I was sitting in my study at home on Milburn Street. I was probably late August, no actually October, and I was grading assignments and it hit. Not slowly as in high school, but a dump, and as it dumped the wind kicked up and blew it. I stood and looked out the window and literally saw old man winter blowing it around the edge of the neighbors house. I could see it as waves being blown around the corner and circling around the edge of the frame colonial house. It was blowing so hard it was snowing horizontal! I did not believe that statement when I heard it before I moved from the more moderate climate of Oregon. But yes it was so.

Last night as Theresa and Alberto were giving me a ride home, Alberto mentioned that there was snow in the rain. I sat up in my seat and looked intensely out the front window. Yes it was true. But it was not 'real' snow. It was a tease. It was saying: 'I'm here but not really'.

This morning when I got up it was still dark. I thought of the ride home and went to the window to look out (as I always do) and in the street light I could see a hint of it. The ground was wet but uncovered with snow. I opened the window and yes, confirmation, it was happening! I grabbed my camera.

Another memory. Recorded in the mind and computer.

I often wonder what happens to all of our memories when we die. Do they just dissolve? Yes, for the deceased they do. But is it not possible that they all go to a memory morgue? It is a place, I assume, where the raw material of future dreams for alive beings come from. Sort of a clearing house for memory. There they are, all jumping around trying to get out to be re-placed into some brain. Just think, the dream that Dante had as a child could be stored in the brain of a chicken right now. They say that energy (which is what 'holds' dreams together)(which, in fact, holds everything together) never disappears, rather it is transformed or changed. So, given this hypothesis one can therefore assume that every dream from all time, having been experienced by every living person, dog, cat, bird, bug and so on is still some-where (where ever where is).

Anyway, I went to the Museum this morning and during my walk to the bus stop I was smiling and thinking about the first snows gone by in my life. I stood waiting for the bus, watching and smiling to myself (actually smiling to the whole world but I do not get the sense that Italians notice other people the way Americans do)(or at least make the same eye contact).

When I squeezed myself into the bus with my camera and portfolio I felt clean and fresh. I felt like yelling to the others on the bus: 'Hey! Ain't it great to see the first snowfall and be alive and feel...feel...feel yourself being cleaned by the elements! Don't it make ya wanna rub all of that old autumn dirt off yourself and give thanks to the creator?'

I actually could have done that. No one would have understood me. And most people ignore me anyway so why not? But I didn't.

The snow fell steadily all day until early evening. It was great. All day I looked out the window and when I saw the snow I found myself smiling. I recalled again as a kid always looking out the window to see if it was piling up. Hoping that it would get so high that everything would close and the only thing for everyone to do was to go out and play in it. It seems that is what the snow is saying to us. When it gets to certain point it forces us to stop. It is a kind of natural symbol that at a certain point says: 'Hey, quit what you are doing and come & play in me!' I love it when those kind of elements take over. But I also remember the disappointing times of it not getting deep enough. It not piling high enough to close the schools. How sad I was. Actually, now that I think of it, I was disappointed more times than not. But the bad comes with the good, or else we would have no good.

I took a break from work today and went for a walk. I tried to photograph but the camera did not record all of the scenes as I witnessed them. So much of it has to remain a memory, a fantasy in my mind. All of these memories, dreams, and fantasies are just making more raw material to contribute, some day in the future, to the memory morgue.