Day Twenty-Five: Snowflake



The move from Chicago to Nashville in 2005 was an adjustment. The one thing we pined for in the winter was snow. Though middle Tennessee gets thin layers of powdery snow throughout the short winter season it’s nothing like Chicago. When the forecast calls for snow in Tennessee schools close, people panic and grocery stores run out of milk and bread as if milk and bread are the two things anyone really needs when holed up in a snowstorm. Given the number of people I know who are now either lactose or gluten intolerant (or both) these days, it always surprises me that those are the two things people run out to buy in preparation for getting stuck at home.

Personally, I’d stock up on hot buttered rum, chicken soup and old movies starring Audrey Hepburn or Cary Grant but that’s just me.

It could be the many winters I’ve had in Chicago and in the Ohio valley before that but I missed the white snow piled up high on the streets when we moved to Tennessee. I’d watch the sky day after day, grabbing at any hint of snow. The first year we lived there it did snow, a little, and the kids ran outside to slide down the hill using the cardboard boxes we’d just unpacked in our new house. In the end they were more muddy than snow-covered but it was alright. They didn’t seem to mind.

Our first year back in Chicago when the snow began to fall it felt as if a part of me slid back into place somehow, some missing part, some long loved part. I sat in a chair watching out the window of our loft, overlooking the street and the cars as the snow fell and I prayed because that’s what I’m apt to do when things are quiet and my soul is settling in to the rhythm of things. The snow fell and the drivers honked and the street filled, covered, blanketed with that frozen white. It doesn’t stay white in Chicago for long, pollution taking its toll and all, but for that moment I watched and waited and drank in the sight of it and for that moment I was tremendously grateful, tremendously grateful.


  1. I also still miss single digits and below zero wind chills, which comes from my formative years in MN and visiting my people in the UP. Our own return to Chicago brought me back a little closer to the appropriate temperature ranges for the four seasons. What surprised me, though, was realizing I had missed living next to a giant body of fresh water as I had in my earliest eight years in Milwaukee. The small of the water in the sink hit me like a wall when I opened the tap the first day I was here. I’ve also found there to be something very different, subtley, between the rather temperate and sometimes overly precipitate life next to a salt water ocean and its tributaries and life in the Old Northwest with our mix of Canadian cold, Gulf humidity, and the wind that only wide-open spaces and great inland seas can nurture. It’s good to be closer to home, even if it’s still a little warm here.

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