Icicle are so picturesque, don’t you think? And what child in the colder parts of the world hasn’t tried to eat an icicle? You crunched it with your teeth and loved the sensation of eating frozen glass.
Who among us hasn’t broken off a particularly long one to wave around like a spear, feeling its slippery smoothness? Tossed it like a javelin and listened to the splintering sound as it hit its target.
Perhaps you were wearing wooly mitts when you cracked the metre-long icicle off from the overhanging roof on a sunny day, then had your mittens freeze to the ice. When you finally were able to drop it, you found fuzzy fibers stuck to the icicle and your mitt had a thinner spot.
I suppose there are places in the world where icicles never form, let along get to be six feet long. One can’t imagine them hanging down from trees in the Amazon rain-forest, or in caves along the Nile. What deprivation! On the other hand, we were in Quebec during the infamous “Enfer de glace” when steady rain for almost a week and temps hovering at the freezing point gave “ice” a whole new meaning!
Likewise, what northern climate child hasn’t tried to catch a snowflake on his tongue? Or you open your mouth to the falling flakes and try to catch a dozen, feeling the tickle of cold as they land on your face, powdering your nose and hair.
What child doesn’t love being out in a fresh thick blanket of snow. You swish through the whiteness, plowing it aside with your feet. Or flop down and make a snow angel. When the snow’s falling thick and fast you can look around and feel yourself all alone in this whitening world, leaving your own trail. Your own personal mark in time and place.
Then you glance back and watch the snow filling in your footprints, erasing your passage, making the world white again. You get a fleeting sense of your own life story, your own mortality.
The falling snow wipes out all your missteps and stumbles. Snow renews our hope that such things are possible, that we can have our missteps in this world erased by a merciful heavenly hand.
Snow is created for the senses; it’s created for the bliss of an exploring child. And for a lot of folks it has this figurative sense as well: forgiveness and a life cleansed from impurity.
First posted Nov 19, 2015 as a response to the WordPress Daily Prompt,
where we were to do a post describing some aspect of the sense of touch.