February 9, 2014

the light on a snowy night

Last night, after going to bed very early in an attempt to wrap my sleep cycle around to match that of other people, I woke up in the dark and could not sleep. I cried, beginning my grieving process over an opportunity I think will be lost to me, although it isn’t quite yet. I would rather begin to grieve now rather than hold onto hope for years, only to have it snatched from me later. If I grieve it now, and get the chance later, it will be more joy than the mourning was, but if I hope now and grieve later, it will be all at once, and worse for it.

As a rule, when I wake up in the night and can’t get back to sleep after 30 or 45 minutes, I get up and do something else. I eat — last night it was spaghetti aglio olio — and I read, and if I still do not think I can sleep I come up to the ritual room. I drummed for a bit, just practicing simple rhythms, and I did a tarot spread for another problem, and a litteromancy draw for the one I was crying over (which, to my surprise, insisted it would still happen, although not soon). And I noticed, out the window, that it had been snowing.

I slipped on some shoes and my heavy robe and grabbed an offering bowl, and stole outside, just to watch. The falling snow glittered. I settled the bowl into a pile of snow that had already built, and later I’ll collect it to make offering with the water.

I am, really, still new to snow. I grew up mostly in Florida, and Arizona before that. I have very faint memories from Maryland, where I was born, of building a snowman with my mother, and putting my dad’s favorite baseball cap on it, so that it was wet and cold when he came home and put it on, and mom and I snickered together. I was perhaps two, and don’t know how much of that is remembered and how much constructed.

In Seattle, it snows perhaps a couple of times a year, and not even every year at that. It makes it hard to get used to. I hate to drive in it; Seattle snow is slicker than snot, since it melts and refreezes and is slushy and icy. I hate to drive while it’s falling, too; I get hypnotized by it too easily.

What I do love, though, is a snowy night when I can stay at home, and just look at it. There is so much light on these nights. The snow and the clouds trap every available photon and reflect it endlessly. Somehow even the cityglow is less orange than usual, and the sky can be a purple that I have tried to capture on my bedroom walls, with limited success. (They are a lovely color, though.)

I stood there in the purple light and the glittering fall, and felt peace. I caught snowflakes on my tongue, as I never got to as a child. I ate snow off the top of the fence, just for the clean taste. I threw snowballs at my fence. It felt good. And I did not want to cry anymore.

I went back to bed eventually, and slept for a long time.