Friday, December 19, 2008

Old Memory

Today is the first real heavy snowfall of the season, and for some reason it reminds me of the first real snowfall I remember experiencing in person.

I had seen snow before, albeit in a limited fashion; when we had a short family USA vacation that had detours to the Midwest, and a stopover in snow-covered Tokyo. So, while the concept of snow was not foreign to me, a real snowfall was something I had yet to experience. After all, we did grow up in a tropical country prior to immigrating.

It had actually started snowing that day sometime in the early afternoon, while we were still in class. I was sitting in Mr. Sullivan’s chemistry class, which had these large bay windows looking out the front garden of the school. The flakes were just falling slowly, and everyone got excited because it was the first snowfall of the year, and of course they were hoping that enough snow meant school cancellations for tomorrow.

It didn’t really make too much of an initial impression on me because it had just started to snow. The ground was flecked white, but nothing really impressive. Why was this dusting so exciting? It looked to me that someone had just dumped flour on the ground and that was it. It was still snowing when we made our way home. And true to my usual after-school routine of afternoon television and light snacking, I didn’t really pay all that much attention to the continued snowfall. It hadn’t snowed any harder by my estimation.

After dinner, my brother and I were wondering about the snow, so we pulled back the curtains on the sliding French doors leading to the backyard deck to take a peek. The second the backyard floodlights came on, it was the most amazing sight to two snow rookies. Everything was covered by about four or five inches of snow! The deck, the backyard, and the fence, even the neighbors’ yard – as far as we could see. And it was snowing harder than before; to this rookie, it seemed like a blizzard.

My brother and I quickly put on our winter clothing, which really was a heavy parka, jeans and sneakers with thick socks, and proceeded outside. We were so excited we even brought with us a camera to document everything. I was going to send everyone back home a picture of us playing in a snowstorm. We ran around the backyard, played catch with this rubber football, and tried to taste as many snowflakes as we could. It was my first major snowfall and I was going to savor every single moment.

We used the entire roll of film. I still have the pictures. You can’t see the flakes really well. And the flash washes out the background. But the expressions are unmistakable.

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