On November 17, 2021

Twirling in first snow

By Merisa Sherman

The cocktail party twirls on around me as I gather up abandoned glasses throughout the Great Room. I duck under one person’s elbow, my right arm hopefully protecting the glasses on my cocktail tray from getting bumped. I feel like a panther, stealthily avoiding our lovely guests who are caught up in the wonderfulness of an in-person gathering while I pick up yet another napkin from the floor. Everyone is smiling and laughing, sharing humorous anecdotes and loving life for a few hours.

By Merisa Sherman
The first snow of the season coats all of Killington mountain while the guns continue blasting.

As I walk to the kitchen with my full tray, I happen to notice a glittering light through the windows. The spotlights seem to be highlighting not just the regular scene but something sparkly. I’m confused for a split second but then I stop dead in my tracks. I am drawn to the light, like a deer caught in the headlights. Resistance is futile and I don’t even really notice as I put my tray down on the front desk.

Despite my indoor work shoes and my all black cotton outfit, I open the front door and freeze. Literally. On both counts. For the first real time this year, the temperature is finally below freezing and I’m dressed for the restaurant and the cold stops me dead in my tracks. But it is the beauty of the freshly falling snow that has me truly stunned.

It is simply beautiful, the big white fluffy flakes floating haphazardly downward in the darkness. The floodlights from the building create a yellow glow, which sparkles off the flakes like lightning bugs or … snow is magical enough in itself. It doesn’t need metaphors.

I know I’m supposed to go back in and make more cocktails for the boisterous group inside, but I cannot. The magic of the snow pulls me out of the building and my little black slippers leave footprints as they melt the first flakes of the season. I am powerless to resist as my arms rise out to the sides and I turn my face upwards. My tongue reaches outward to catch the flakes and I take a deep breath through my nose.

I can feel the hairs in my nose stiffen as I let in the cold air and a change comes over me. I am lighter and more free and all I want to do is lie in the grass and make the first snow angel of the season. I take a few more steps on the walkway and turn my eyes away from the dark sky. A laugh from inside breaks my stupor and I remember that I’m at work. I take one more deep breath of the quiet cold with a promise to return and then head back inside to the warmth and noise.

Snow enchants me, captivates me. How can this piece of nature’s imagination be so much more overwhelming than all the others? I love the change of the leaves, the blooming of the flowers, the plumpness of the green mountains, but none of those beautiful things connects to my very soul.

I am somehow connected to snow. It calls to me like a siren, and I surrender to her most willingly. The quiet beauty, the playfulness and the excitement all twirl together around me as if I am Cinderella getting a dress for the ball.

The funny part is that snow can also be pretty ugly, like when it snows a little bit after a rainstorm. The frozen base has a dirty, yellowish and granular feel while the pure white snow on top is sticky and uncooperative. So even though I was enraptured by the evening snowfall, I knew that the skiing the next day would be “variable” and more of an experience than super duper awesome.

Honestly, the next day I was so busy looking at all the snow-covered trees that I barely noticed the variable conditions on the hill. It was fun, it was skiable but who cares what the conditions are like when the mountain looks so absolutely gorgeous. Each pine tree looked like Mother Nature had spent the night dusting powdered sugar all over the mountaintops. There was even enough snow for it to stick to some of the deciduous trees, their branches lined with snowy shadows.

It is not yet a marshmallow world, that will take some time. This beautiful first snowfall of the year feels like we are living in an art gallery or a dream world and hints at the greatness that is to come. It is the cocktail party of winter, the amuse-bouche if you will, before the main feast of the season that will be filled with powder days and sexy morning groomers. Everyone is smiling and laughing, sharing humorous anecdotes of ski days gone by and loving life.

And I? I am the one sneaking out the back door of the kitchen to make snow angels in the dark before I go back to work.

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