I used to love it, the quiet fall of crystals, the muted crunch and a squeek underfoot, back in the days when I didn't wear a coat until Old Man Winter demanded it in January. Snow fell deeper then, and warmer, in huge downy blankets that insulated us from the world.
I also wasn't a driver then.
But I had a sled, and I wasn't afraid to use it. I knew how to make igloos and snowmen and snow angels. My feet flew on ice skates along the creek in the woods, and, later, glided over the top of snow drifts on snowshoes like a web-footed bird.
It wasn't difficult to love snow, because I lived in it. I even babysat for a family who would transport me to and from their home on a snowmobile. Now there's a ride, especially after dark.
Somewhere amid 20 years of long drives to and from work, however, I've learned to despise snow. Until a random program on television brought back to me all of its beauty, in microscopic detail.
Snowflakes were first photographed by Wilson A. Bentley in 1885, using an adapted microscope and mutated bellows camera.
If these were diamonds, only Kings could afford them. To us, they are free.
In the 1993 film Groundhog Day, Bill Murray's character, finally getting it right on his umpteenth repeat of February 2nd, reports Punxsutawney Phil's shadow sighting this way:
"When Chekov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet, we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here amongst the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn’t imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter."