The Solace of Snow

I love the snow. It brings solace to my soul every year at a time when I most need it, as the days grow shorter and I get more and more depressed. The blanket of white puts me in mind of far more pleasant than bad things, and I happily stand at a window watching the snow fall.

The end of the calendar year is a time for reflection: on what has gone before, and on hopes for what it to come. During these days of horror and malicious indifference, I find it difficult to be optimistic; We are pissing away the only world we have so the value of rich people’s stock portfolios go up a few more points. The US is showing signs that SOME things will turn around, but I find it doubtful we can undo the damage that’s already been done before a fickle public grows bored and votes in the monsters again, because they “speak their minds” or some such rubbish.

Snow brings quiet. The snowflakes in the air muffle sound so that traffic noise is less pervasive, even in the busiest parts of the city. I miss the quiet of small town life – one of the very few things about small towns I truly miss – and conditions during a snowfall put me in mind of those happy memories.

We have reached the time that former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us about: the supremacy of the military-industrial complex. Multinational corporations are now above the law, threatening to pull out of a country and move those jobs overseas unless they are given ludicrous tax breaks that starve our economy and create perhaps the largest wealth gap in US history. Seems the Cyberpunks had it more right than the dystopians, but then, they had the advantage of a closer, more intimate view.

Snow also brings a blanket of white, covering everything with the metaphorical promise of renewal. In cities, snow only stays white for a short time before car exhaust turns it grey, then black. But for a time, I enjoy the illusion of a clean, pristine world that new-fallen snow offers. I have hope for 2019, but I’m afraid my once-boundless supply of optimism is nearly depleted. It seems that gains in human rights and the environment are growing shorter and shorter-lived, while the losses add up, not only undoing but exceeding the gains, so that each year is a little worse than the one before.

My mother hated winter. The cold accentuated her many aches and pains, and the slippery conditions kept her housebound, making her feel isolated and alone. For me, winter brings hope. Instead of living in a state of perpetual brown, with reminders of death — bare trees, fallen leaves, grasses and plants withered and decaying — surrounding us, the clean, purity of new snow hints that something else is coming: that a new day is at hand if we can only hang on a little longer. I love snow.

I wish you all the very best that the new year has to offer. May 2019 be a kinder, more thoughtful, more hope-filled year for us all.

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