Personal Essay: Snowflakes.


The cold makes me hurt, brings illness to my cramped indoors and makes me dress my son up like an Eskimo and then rush to get him undressed when he has to pee after the hour long dressing process and before we get out the door. Snowflakes, I should only find them a dreary misery. However, I love the crisp whiteness of snow so much, I am planning a wedding so I will have them about. I am planning the entire celebration around the theme of snowflakes.

I stand at the window late at night, looking out into the lights around my home and watch them fall, as if they were each a Wise man I had trekked to see from afar.
I have a reverence for these white flakes of suspended water. It’s like a sad death, as each one hits the ground.
What can be said about them?
They start off cycling up in the clouds as tiny water drops, moving about until they are ready to fall. Freezing up here, they don’t whine about the hardship, but branch out into something beautiful. They take their pain and make it art, substance, living emotion. They embrace the fall, thrusting forth into something larger than themselves. They float, gracefully through the atmosphere, sometimes into a heat they can’t withstand. Each different, yet similar in their struggle. They make the ordinary magic and ultimately rest forgotten, but part of the world now. Peaceful, still, white.
0h I love it more, when lightning strikes among them and illuminates them in a rare show that is more entertaining than anything on my television. Perfection. A quiet rage writhing within something terribly beautiful and precious.
It is like a quiet chime, making this moment one to slow down for, reflect and put away the day’s minutiae. I am still, contained and peaceful. I am precious to the world. I can float gracefully through life and make it count. I have purpose.
I have peace. I am still.
I often turn away reluctantly to the dark house and move quietly into my bed. A moment’s peace is worth a thousand aches in a life lived so chaotically around the small tiny flotsam that life brings. How can one be upset with such an amazing thing? Something we far too often shun or take for granted.
I am still.
I am peaceful.
I am a snowflake.
(C) 2008 by Jennifer Altherr,

  • *Deena

    How beautiful you make the snow sound! I’ve never lived where it snows, but I love the imagery of snowflakes, too. I find the reality of snow on the ground to be far too cold, wet, and slippery, but looking at snowflakes, or at new-fallen snow in a yard, when it looks like sifted powdered sugar fallen on everything, or melted icing—that’s beautiful.

  • This is a lovely thought. I’ve always found contemplating beauty is the best thing I can do to come to peace with my pain. That literally bangs the pain down, because my fibro responds immediately to stress!
    Your prose poem was worth half a level of pain just reading it and bringing back the memory of snow, anticipation of snow very soon as a happy thing, anticipation of plein air painting in the snow.
    That is what this is, a prose poem crafted well to carry my thoughts in a direction that helps me rise above my limits.
    Walk in beauty, friend.