How Many Snowflakes Heal a Heart?

105 could make it lighten, rise up and out from the heavy body, flutter above the gray clouds and believe that while November may be the cruelest month, winter is on its way.

3 landing on a nose, then melted with cupped hands and a full breath.

2007: enough to call it powder? Enough to slide on skis?

Or just enough to make it a weak layer on the mountain side?

And slide, there goes the snow.

It happens so quickly.

Like death. Like a heart shattering, splintering and fracturing (does ice come to mind? a spiderweb of frozen water? Yes, that’s what I see, after the glacier has bulldozed me to the ground).


Or, now for something kinder, like a snowman. 1.2 billion flakes, rolled and packed and punched and shaped. Three roundish globes to make a body, smoothed by hands damp in their woolen mittens. Don’t forget the eyes. Or the carrot for a nose.

Perhaps to some, like me, we lose count after the thousands and lose sight of each individual flake, lacy and intricate and well, frankly, magical. I see snow as the accumulation – much like the accumulation of life (or death, which seems to be happening a lot lately. Either suddenly or the “six months to live” rigmarole) but it’s all too convenient for someone like me, a skier, a worshiper of mountains, to make such metaphors from snow. Is it true or is it a myth that the Eskimos have many words for snow and we, and who are “we” exactly, have so few?

Do we need those many words? Yes, I know there are types of snow, names for a particular kind or shape or form. But do we really need to dig deep and unearth all these terms for snow?

Or could it be that snow is a word I’m using in place for pain?

Pain will do, won’t it?

When life is either suffering or not, does it matter what kind of snow or what kind of pain it is? What good does it do to find the different meanings, to take up the microscope and look deeper, closer?

It’s either cold.

Or it hurts.

Yet, it only takes one. Flake that is.

To make me smile when the world turns dark and closes in (almost pain, but not quite. I try to not let it sink into my bones. Let me be shaped by mittens, rolled and packed. The snowman has no heart, just a nose made from a carrot.).

Hope, is what I feel. One flake is all it takes.


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