Time changes you.
All those years in Vancouver I thought I knew snow. I remember what it was like then. It was a romance, pure and simple. Once or maybe twice a year the air would grow too cold for the rain to properly liquefy and it would snow. Great white pieces of the sky would tumble to the earth and slosh across the astonished pavement. Oh it was a glorious thing. The essence of winter cozying down overtop of me with damp affection. It was a fleeting union. The snow was as ill prepared as I was then for the shock of the passion. Passion it was, however, beautiful and intangible. I remember how the entire city would be held sway in the embrace of the sudden snowfall. Two inches would cover the streets for the span of a heartbeat before melting clean away but the purity of it would stop everything dead in it's tracks. I think I naively felt as the city itself did - that if I paused and held tight, the snow would linger. It never did. Once or twice or maybe not at all. That was all I knew of romance then. And it was sweet in its innocence.
Then I moved to Edmonton. Not long ago, maybe a couple of years if that. And the depth of the affair moved beyond my wildest anticipation. It was thrilling beyond words that first winter. The snow fell and kept falling, it tumbled joyously, freely, openly and bundled itself upon everything in sight. To be so immersed in what before had only been the slightest of kisses was heaven itself. And the city was sure of itself, sure of the love. It didn't pause for a breath, not a moment, but continued right on as it always had, sweeping the snow up in stride and making it part of life. Such unity. The snow lingered, it stayed, it would not be swayed by sun or season. I felt then that finally I had found understanding. The snow knew how glorious it could be between us. The falling, embracing, crystalline beauty of love without the goodbye implied.
As the months rolled by and the snow refused to let me breathe, however, I began to look at things differently. The snow was not allowing me freedom. The snow was demanding that I change for it, that I bend to a singular notion of love, that I give up my alliance with the sun and bare feet. I felt, for the first time, stifled. Could I have been mistaken about the love?
This winter I am sure. The snow stalks me now. It falls and I no longer see a joyous tumble of sky kisses but rather a padded quilt meant to pinion me in place, arms bound around me, everything blanketed in white. The snow comes and it will not leave. I shunt it out of my home. I burrow in warm circles of lamplight and push thoughts of winter from my mind. But every morning it waits for me, draped over the hood of my car, pleading and insistent. It gathers at street corners, huddles under filthy rags along every alley, crying icy jilted tears over everything. It is a stubborn lover, my snow. I long for the break in winter but I fear it will not come. I fear the snow will never allow our affair to end. I am imprisoned by my own poor judgment, my own enthrall with unyielding passion. The sun is a distant memory. My flesh hardens to marble. And everywhere there is the snow.
And yet deep in my heart where I long not to admit such things, I know that after the summer has waned and the autumn has fallen, I will look to the sky with anticipation. And when I see those first feathery beautiful flakes drift down to me, my heart will leap in spite of myself. So it is with love.
Copyright Corinne Simpson