I love snow in all its aspects, yet browsing through past holiday pictures I realized that snow has thousands of faces and meanings. From the simple joy of snowflakes to the excitement and rush of making a snow angel or a snowman; from the wonder of an icicle to the art nature instills in a frozen fence; or, simply, the unspoiled wonder the morning after a snow storm holds.
Join me in finding the different meanings that snow holds.
The weather channel announced the blizzard, so everyone was expecting it: the snowfall. It came over a few days, quietly falling, day after day. The ground has to be frozen, you see, for the snow to settle and we were holding thumbs that first day: freeze, freeze. Checking the windows every half an hour: does the tar still shows? Has a dusty layer of snow settled yet? It takes a couple of day, you know. And it starts with a skift, a light snowfall.
Then, one morning, we woke up to this:
And to some footsteps left on our windowsill:
Need I say how fast we got dressed to go outside? As fast as our endless layers of clothing allowed us, anyway. And this is what we saw:
One of snow’s thousand faces certainly is wonder! Its meaning? Live in the moment.
Let it snow… or make it snow!
I think you have to be very patient if you are a coniferous tree. And have lots of practice sitting perfectly still.
Snow angels, through their serenity and peace, do confer winter a higher, spiritual meaning. But the joy that goes into making them certainly anchor the holiday season firmly into childhood. Maybe this symbol of winter is the fine, silver thread that connect so many hearts around the world, an universal language.
And snowmen! Yet you need a certain type of snow to built one, it has to warm up a little, so the snow will release some heat that, in turn, will bound the snowflakes together and help them hold their shape.
Then the onding, the heavy snow, returned. That’s a massive snowfall, but not big enough to be qualified as a blizzard. An onding is a regionalism used in Scotland and Northern England since the middle of the 18th century.
And a day later we walked to the shops…
The snow was THAT big:
Brave us, we traveled to Sighisoara by train, through snow. This will be a story on its own, but for now this is what we saw: grue, thin, floating ice:
Here is a first glimpse at Sighisoara, the amazing medieval city built along Târnava Mare River:
I have ambivalent feelings for the snow and ice clinging to a fence. It can be art, like this spiraled fence capped with snow:
Or this glowing, frozen chicken wire fence:
Yet this barbed wire frozen in winter makes me wince:
I leave you with this: as spiky as a barbed wire, as graceful as a ice-skater’s blades, the icicle is wonder and physics combined:
Taking a train journey through snow, between Bucharest and medieval Sighisoara, in Romania, was an exciting and magical experience. Fresh snow blanketed the fields and the hills, while the trees were frozen in winter as the train approached the Carpathian Mountains.
Snow is each new day’s promise for a new beginning. Everything is fresh, unspoiled, and the possibilities are endless. What shall it be today? Footprints? A snowball fight? A snowman? An icy fort?
I bet the coniferous trees wait patiently all year round, till it’s winter time again. Then only do they begin to loose their patience. ‘Is she here yet, the snow?’
The first promise of a colorful town awaiting at our destination:
It snowed some more by the time we took the train journey back.
Winter hangs in the air. Like an artist after laying the first layer of paint, then stepping back to take in his creation, winter took a breather before going back to work.
Sometimes, when you look in the distance snow seems to protect her own secrets…
…secrets she is ready to share with you. Dare you step off the train and listen to her?
Go ahead, go and listen. It’s not like you’re in Siberia. This isn’t Doctor Zhivago either, it’s just the Romanian plains where winter has only just began.
And pretty soon the sun smiles at us, on our train journey through snow and through Romania.
I was happy to count two trees atop this hill. I like to think they keep each other company. Do trees wish one another Merry Christmas? Perhaps they do.
An unusual, yet still typical sight for rural Romania, a cart pulled by a horse.
A beautiful sight for fans of all things train-related, an old steam engine, a narrow-railed one.
All train stations we’ve been through in Romania have this train map that shows you exactly where to wait on the platform, depending on your wagon number. Believe me, it is extremely useful if you board a train before dawn or if you travel with children.
A sight for the brave ones:
Until next time 🙂
Who knows, we might even travel to Sighisoara together…
It falls, slides with joy A dream? Longed for, urged, wished, hoped! Winter’s first present.
I hope you will enjoy the 12 Days of Christmas haiku; there will be published one each day starting on Christmas Day. Subscribe to my newsletter to never miss a blog post.
In previous versions of “12 Days of Christmas” five golden rings have been hares running or goldie rings.
These golden rings seem a bit out of place mentions in the middle of a list of birds (partridge, doves, hens, calling birds, geese, swans), isn’t it?
That’s because they might actually refer to the golded rings around the neck of the Golden Pheasant.
Some scholars suggest that the golden rings are actually goldspinks, a 1700’s name for another bird, the European Goldfinch.
There is a Greek legend that might played some influence here. It speaks of Jason and the Argonauts, his crew of men, who went in the quest for the Golden Fleece as ordered by kind Pelias in order to place Jason legally on the throne of Thessaly.
“To take my throne, which you shall, you must go on a quest to find the Golden Fleece.”
From their quest they also brought golden birds, Phasianos ornis in Greek, bird of the river Phasis (Φασιανὸς ὂρνις), the “ring-necked pheasant. But being just introduced in the country they were quite scares so eating them was a luxury of the very rich.
You can enjoy more haiku on this page of my website.