Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I'm still figuring out the constraints I am going to put on myself for this blog, so forgive me if I try looking into the past right now for a moment.

My closest and oldest friend in the little country where I used to live in central Europe posted a photo today of the 'prvy sneh', first snow, of the year.  Seeing this photo appear in my facebook news feed filled my chest with that sudden tightness that comes when you are suddenly bombarded with sensual memory.  Usually, this feeling comes for most people, including myself, upon smelling something, but this time it came with an image of soviet-style apartment buildings, little 'skoda' cars, streetlamps flooded with white specks of snow, all from the vantage point of a window from one of the top floors.

My own cozy little apartment was on the 6th floor of an 8-story building, so I am familiar with looking down onto the snow like this.  For a girl from the deep South of the United States, I never got tired of seeing the world outside my windows covered in snow.  I didn't even get tired of it when it was gray and old at the end of the winter.  As I looked at this photo today, I let myself, just for a few seconds, step outside of a Slovak apartment building into the friendly cold, my black winter coat buttoned to the neck, hat pulled far down on my head, backpack on, the cold filling my nostrils, the sound of traffic and the 'elektricka' muffled by the falling snow.  I never got tired of this feeling.

I liked it best on early mornings when I taught 7am classes. I'd sometimes leave half an hour early to walk the whole way to work so that my tracks would be the first ones on the night's snow.  I'd be almost completely alone in the early morning winter darkness, maybe passing another another riser with a tiny nod to the head but never a smile (this is Slovakia after all). 

This was a moment I experienced today.