For some people, hope is rays of sunlight. For me, it’s snow.
Here in the most beautiful city in the world, it rarely snows. And, if I’m practical, it’s probably for the best. In Paris, no one salts the sidewalks. Snow means likely sliding down a hill or slipping on your way to work or the grocery store.
Still, snow feels like magic to me, drifting and twirling from the sky. When it sticks, there is nothing like the silence (even here) of those flakes falling onto what’s already fallen. The world is still, calm and quiet.
I’ve wanted to share this with my son for two winters, but we’ve been getting even less snow than usual. And then, last Wednesday, a sudden storm — rain turned to large, fat flakes. I forgot myself, the pain of a sore throat, the stress of work, everything washed away. It lasted only fifteen minutes, and my napping son didn’t see any of it. A part of me regretted not waking him up.
Now, it’s snowing again. The flakes are small and hard to see. But I bring my son to the window. I hold him in my arms. He has my eyes, and can see the smallest details. “Snow,” I tell him.
He may not understand why I’m so excited; he hasn’t had much time to discover snow, outside of picture books, where he often mistakes flakes for stars. But he smiles, even so, and looks and says “ ‘no.”
We watch for a few seconds. The flakes become minuscule and disappear. We move from the window and he says, “Au revoir, ‘no!”
Something about his cheerful understanding, of both the snow, and the fact that it’s gone, also feels magical to me, and maybe wise beyond his years.
Au revoir, snow. I hope to see you again soon.