Waiting for snow

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“We are waiting for snow
the way we might wait for a train
to arrive with its cold cargo—
it is late already, but surely
it will come.”

~ from Interlude by Linda Pastan

Last Friday, our first real snowfall of the season was promised—ten centimetres! Thursday afternoon, the forecast changed: the weather alert vanished, snow amounts reduced to a paltry five centimetres. In the end, the lightest of whitish veils lay on the ground. Even now, the farm fields across the road retain their autumn hue of yellowish green without a hint of white. The dirt road in front of our house has turned as dry as at the height of summer, dust swirling like a sandy squall with each passing car.

We are waiting for snow. In the early morning, I step outside, pyjama-clad, and greet the new day. Cold slaps my face. I draw deep breaths of air that smells fresh and clean. Across the field, bands of amber light play on the brown hills, lasting only a few moments before the sun turns up its wattage and bleaches the hills with light but not warmth.

We are waiting for snow. The waiting is charged with impatience and restlessness. Let the new season arrive! Isn’t this always the way with transitions? Waiting for change is often harder than the change itself. I want to rush through the in-between time, eager to have a clear, firm ending followed immediately by a clear, firm beginning. I labour under the delusion that well-defined starts and finishes guarantee that life is predictable, that it will continue as before. That my wish is nature’s command!

I heave a sigh and laugh at myself.

We are waiting for snow. My inner antennae probe the sensations of impatient restlessness to uncover tendrils of excitement, anticipation, and, eventually, delight in this time before the snow, as I take in the scene right in front of me.

A breeze rattles the last of the maple leaves clinging to the branches on a nearby tree. High in another tree, two black squirrels chase each other. They race from branch to branch, leaping from tree to tree with astonishing ease. Chickadees swoop from clothesline to bird feeder, chattering the latest gossip. Below the feeder, chipmunks forage, stuffing their cheeks with seeds that they will cache in secret hideaways.

I wait for the snow. In the meantime, David Budbill’s short and wise poem reminds me to welcome the inward exploration as much as the outward anticipation.

Winter is the best time

Winter is the best time
to find out who you are.

Quiet, contemplation time,
away from the rushing world,

cold time, dark time, holed-up
pulled-in time and space

to see that inner landscape,
that place hidden and within.

~ David Budbill

~ Image courtesy Gundula Vogel from Pixabay



  1. Pat

    November 30, 2021

    Beautiful Mary Lou. I can feel the cold in my lungs. Enjoy your waiting.

  2. Janice

    December 1, 2021

    You’ve captured it perfectly Mary Lou, this in-between time neither autumn nor winter. And now this morning the first layer to announce, it’s coming, really coming. Love Budbill’s take on ‘the best time / to find out who you are’. Thanks for this winter greeting. love Jan

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