Snow days in Alabama are, to say the least, an anomaly. People walk and drive and slide about with incurable grins and eyes wide with wonder. Front yards suddenly give birth to snow citizens with sticks for arms and donning hastily repurposed clothes snatched from the giveaway box. Little dark pockmarks dot the landscape where handfuls of precipitate have been scooped up for utilization as pillowy ammunition.
Entire systems of work and order slow to a halt for irrational fear of snowing-in or dangerous roadways, but also, I suspect, out of a sense of reverent fascination. Where we are starving for rest, these fortuitous flurries become manna from Heaven, descending onto a place with quietude that is deep and thick. All in one day, a months-long stretch of record-setting cold, almost unbearably persistent, is redeemed by the play and community which ensue from three inches of groundcover.
Where I sometimes long for a location that experiences greater and more frequent volumes of snow, I am quick to acknowledge that it is the novelty of such events which lends itself to days of acceptable unproductivity and necessary Sabbath.
From where I sit on the crest of a hill, I watch arborous limbs akimbo slowly bow and torque beneath heaps of fallen sky until coming to rest, their outermost twigs nearly sweeping the ground. The wide city backdrop is now reduced to a greyscale with a stillness that rivals an antique photograph.
As the sun starts to set behind my window, I suddenly remember that we live in a color world, that black and white is an illusion created in the minds of those at eyelevel with great black trees overlooking fields that are white blank pages bearing the imprint of steel grey houses.