First memory of snow: Standing at my aunt and uncle’s sliding door in Michigan at the age of eight, bundled in a luridly-coloured coat, excited to get outside onto their porch. Once there, not knowing what to do with myself. The snow was deep – up to my mid-thigh – and I wasn’t sure how to wade through it. It was too cold to pack into snowballs, and besides, it seemed mean to throw them at someone. (Plus, I knew that when I made my sister the sport’s obvious target, I’d get in trouble.) Vague memories of starting a snowman, but it being abandoned. More concrete memories of later that afternoon, lighting Channukah candles with Mom in the kitchen, and us all commenting on how great that was alongside the Christmas tree in the next room.
First time in snow (of which I have a photo but no memory): Lauren and I, age 4 and 6-ish respectively, dressed in those same coats – they were probably Christmas presents from family in the States a few years before the Michigan trip. We are in Ceres, having made the journey for the adventure to snow. We are standing in front of a white-branched tree. One of us has our arms stretched out. Later, Mom and Dad will say how cold they were ’cause they didn’t have proper American coats.
First time when it was actually snowing: During the most recent back issues, having spent about a week and a half recovering in bed. Pottering around my room, glanced out of the window without glasses, noticed movement. Looked a little closer, saw what could be flakes. Glasses on, FLAKES! Stared out of the window for a while. Went to get my coat and quickly put on shoes and stood outside on the balcony. Watched the snow land on the trees, the gazebo next door, the buildings opposite. Grinning.
The adventures in NYC’s 2016 snowfall: A few days after the initial flurries and my happiness on the balcony, an actual blizzard. Warnings in the days leading up to it. Kathryn’s visit. The constant checking of weather apps. Google’s health warnings to everyone, including the danger of shoveling heavy snow and the necessity for stretching to avoid heart attacks. (Seriously.) People checking in from afar, asking if I had enough groceries. Kathryn’s flight being cancelled. Walking home from Peacefood Cafe, through Washington Square Park, when it began. Flakes on hats and hair. A couple kissing in the empty fountain. Falling asleep to light coverings outside. Waking up to crazy heavy coverings outside. #Snowstagram. #Snowpocalypse. First memory of walking on snow and my surprise at not sinking through it. Adventuring to have an Italian pizza lunch with Abi at an authentic Italian place where the Italian owners sang along to the Italian opera. Making it through the wind. Tumble-drying clothes at home. Leaving boots to dry. Baking for warmth.
The next morning’s trip to Central Park: Blue sky and white banks. Families and kids with small sleds. Dogs jumping through piles. Trees so laden with snow that it would fall at random. A half-hearted snowball fight. Joggers. A tiny mouse running along the path, exploring between people’s shoes. Stopping for coffee to defrost in Harlem. Wandering along with crunch sounds. The view from across the large lake to the Upper West Side. Snippets of accidentally eavesdropped conversation. Out of breath from walking. Enjoying being out of breath from walking.