Today when I woke up, there was a fine dusting of snow on the ground and on the rooftops and in the trees. As if on cue, the night of December 1 was the first occasion of snow accumulation in New York City. I couldn’t be more delighted.
I watched Fargo again last night for the first time in years. Ignoring for a moment the more gruesome elements of the story, and my absolute adoration of Frances McDormand‘s Marge Gunderson, it is primarily for me a strong reminder of Minnesota winters. Minnesota is not exactly the remote, desolate wasteland the Coen brothers would have you believe. There is a lot of open country along those highways. And, sure, you can take your life in your hands driving from Minneapolis to Leech Lake in the dead of a December night. But winter is a time of year that brings most Minnesotans to life. A state with so many lakes to freeze knows how to live it up when the temperatures get down.
All it takes to put me in a good mood is the random occurrence of rising moisture on the cold side of a low pressure system and the freezing of water vapor condensation into six-sided crystals heavy enough to fall to the surface of the earth. I’m not asking for much, really. Yet as simple and random and, frankly, common as it is, snowfall never fails to delight and inspire me.
I think what is less common and more remarkable is the stillness. For lightweight snowflakes to fall so gently in a more or less straight line, things have to be pretty calm. It’s worth taking a few minutes to notice and appreciate — especially in the city. Five floors up, the world is impressively silent and peaceful. Some of the larger flakes are swirling around as they meet the building and flirting with the window panes on their way to the courtyard below. There is a cat, big, fat and lazy, on my lap, and I am drinking strong coffee, listening to Ella Fitzgerald sing about something that came upon a midnight clear. I am definitely a northern lad, grateful for snow. I pity the South.