Being California-born and Texas-raised, this Ukrainian snow is something of a novelty for me. I’m sure this novelty will wear off after enough time in Ukraine, but for now it gives me something to enjoy in this cold weather–all the glittery pretty white fluffy stuff! I’m daily discovering despite having experienced (paltry) snowfalls in Texas, one Christmas in Missouri, and summer snow on the top of Pike’s Peak, that I really don’t have a clue about REAL snow at all.
Here’s the sum total of what I knew about snow before:
1. It’s frozen water that falls from the sky.
2. It’s white.
3. If there’s enough, it crunches when you walk on it.
And here are some of the things that I’ve studiously observed about that cold white stuff.
1. When it snows significantly for multiple days, it forms in layers on the edges of roofs and banisters and walls, like white strata. It’s crazy, it looks like you could excavate snowy dino bones from it. Or maybe an ice-trilobite? Which instantly brings to mind this scene from Friends:
Ross: Something could’ve happened. All right? She-she really dug my slides. And-and she was definitely giving me the vibe.
Rachel: Right. Was it the, “Please don’t show me another picture of a trilobite vibe?”
Ross: I’m telling you, she was into me, okay! …Hey, you remembered trilobite!
2. Snow is messy. Okay, objectively, I knew this, but it’s totally different when you’ve stamped your feet, wiped them thoroughly on three mats, and still you’re tracking in melty muddy snow.
3. There’s a good reason the Sami have so many different words for snow: there are all different kinds! Slushy, hard, crunchy, slippery, fluffy, bunchy… and I haven’t even been around to experience much of it yet.
4. It’s hard to walk on. Honestly, I thought ice was going to be my only worry–clearly, the paltry snow-dustings of Dallas didn’t prepare me for walking in actual accumulated snow. I’m stumbling around like a toddler with an inner ear problem. Or a clutzy cowgirl. Or some other amusing-yet-apt metaphor, take your pick.
5. The hexagonal architecture of snowflakes is clearly visible to the naked eye, when they’re large enough. I’m sure my Missouri-bred Dad will find this hard to believe, and I did listen in science class (promise!), but honestly I thought their shape was some microscopic secret. I just read Anne Ursu‘s Breadcrumbs (which is OH-HOLY-HECKFIRE-AMAZING, btw, go read it NOW!), and when the main character inspects a snowflake in the opening pages of the book and talks about its structure, I honestly thought the fairy tale part of that book started there. Seriously. Snowflakes are BIG and PERFECT-SHAPED and LACY??–HOW MAGICAL IS THIS? Walking down the street in a big fluffy snowfall, I feel I’m going to run into the Snow Queen and the White Witch any minute. (Good thing I hate Turkish Delight.)
6. It glitters at night under lamplight or moonlight. Again: MAGICALNESS.
7. Sometimes it comes down in CLUMPS. Big, fluffy clusters of snowflakes wadded together, falling out of the sky like Saint Peter’s shaking out Heaven’s lint-trap. Which prompts the question: are angel robes really linty? Enquiring minds, St. Pete.
So. SNOW. I bet there’s still more for me to discover about it. Now I’m about to go walk back to the hotel in more of it. Yippee!