The first fall of snow is not only an event, but it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up to find yourself in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment, then where is it to be found? J. B. Priestley 1894–1984 English novelist, dramatist, and critic: Apes and Angels (1928) ‘First Snow’
Snow has different meanings around the world. People build snow igloos as shelters, snow hotels for tourists or it is a playground for winter sports or simply part of daily life. However, the geographic position of each country plays an important role in how people perceive snow.
The white past time
I was born in Romania, near a national park called Retezat. It has the highest number of mountain peaks over 2,000 m in Romania. In those mountains, I spent all my winter times during childhood. Winters for me were always white and snowy. I remember playing in the snow with my friends from morning to evening until our feet and hands were nearly frozen. I used to put snow on my face to cool down or just eat it when I was thirsty. And, I also remember the days when my friends and I were sitting on the top of the car so it could go up the mountain road to reach the ski slopes. Sometimes, the car would get stuck in the snow and then we had to walk for approximately one or two hours with our skies in the back. Once back home, my father used to wait for me with oven-baked potatoes and butter. I used to eat everything without even breathing.
Snow in my life nowadays
As Crouch & Desforges state” a sensual experience of the world is something which we cannot avoid and is part of our ongoing lives”.
In February 2017, I visited Alta with my work colleagues and I still remember how white everything was and how the air seemed so pure. From that moment on, the feeling of belonging in the white landscape of Alta grew bigger and bigger. Now, I can experience snow from October to May every year. Just walking on the snowy streets gives me an interior peace. I feel like home. And sometimes, it gives me a nostalgic feeling, as my mind goes back to the moment my father shared his baked potatoes with me. Also, the sound of snow in the morning is music to my ears. I usually listen to music when I exit the house, but, not in winter. In winter, everything is quieter, and one can hear his own steps on the snow. It’s a magic moment which you don’t want to miss.
What others feel
I also wondered how others would perceive snow. So, I went outside in the snow and just asked people. For example, Ida, a knitting shop assistant in Alta says she does not want snow on the streets. She would like to have it only on ski slopes, far away from her daily life. Rafael, a waiter from Brazil, associates snow with solitude, cold, darkness and depression. For Simone, a tour guide from Italy, snow means light during the long dark polar nights. And for Thomas, a ski guide from Switzerland, snow is a tool to have fun. It is a moment when he can be in silence and cold far away from the town of Alta.
As one can observe, snow is felt differently by people from all over the world. It can bring back sweet memories from the past, it can provoke sadness or quite the opposite. In addition, the sound of footsteps on the snow can create music. And in the end, I gladly chose to feel the magic of snow through all my senses for more than six months each year.