Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow! The New Jersey/New York area was hit with its first real snow. Yes, it did snow in December but it didn't stay on the ground for long and it only felt like a dusting. Now, we've got a few mounds of it. I love snow. It goes back to when I was very young. I remember being in the Philippines when I was very little and reading about the phenomena of "snow". I recall imagining it... wondering what it would feel like (the closest approximation was the ice shavings that we would put into a popular dessert called "halo-halo"). I read that sometimes it would pile up several feet. I wondered what it would be like to jump into it. How brilliantly cold and exuberant it would all be.
My first encounter with snow is very clear in my mind.
It was late 1979, when I first arrived in the US (I entered the country on December 24th, 1979). We didn't havea white Christmas, but shortly afterwards, we had our first snowfall. And boy was it a beauty! I remember running out and turning my face to the sky. I felt the cold, fluffy flakes hit my face. It was like having tiny feathers that melted away quickly after they hit my face. I romped around in the snow. My mom and dad took me to the park next door (on the other side of our back yard fence was the park). The park is situated on the side of a hill and I got to slide down it. Yippie!
|The view outside a window at work. It looks grainy because the snow is coming down quite heavily and creating a "lumpy fog".|
Thus began my love affaire with the snow. I remember a few years after I came to the US, we had our first snowfall where several feet of snow fell. It was probably 4 to 6 feet high, even higher in drifts. School was cancelled. I remember standing in a hollow in the snow. A snow cave. I remember pa showing off an icicle that was taller than I was. We took photographs then stabbed it into the snow. It broke in two and I took the sharpened end and pretended to fence with it. I fell upon the wall of snow and it collapsed over me. I couldn't stop laughing! I was enjoying myself immensely, even when ma ushered me into the house, damp to the socks and had me sip hot cocoa while warming my hands over the gas burners of our stove.
I remember that even into my high school years, whenever there was an abundant snowfall, I would go out to the backyard and build a snow cave. I would bring candles to melt the snow inside to harden the outer shell, so I had a cool sheet of ice on the inside for reinforcements to my snow fort. I would light several candles and the snowroom would get warm. If it was big enough, Els would crawl in with me and we'd both warm our fingers by candleflame.
I was quite depressed one day (for no reason.. just generally down) and I recall seeing the snow outside. It looked very peaceful to me. I walked out into the snow, barefoot in my pjs. I pushed the snow around until I had a cradle and a makeshift pillow of soft snow. I laid down and as the warmth drained from me, so did my depression. I was at peace. I was probably on the ground for 5 minutes. I wasn't shivering as violently as when I first got down. I got up, went inside, and took a long bath. I was no longer depressed. The snow had soaked up all my sadness. I don't know how or why... it just did.
I could never live in a place without snow. I would miss it. I love Winter more than I love Summer. The summer is a harsh mistress and I hide from her sunny glare. I'm always the one who has layer upon layer of clothing on at the beach. I need four seasons, to live in that particular cycle. I want all of my Christmases to be white.
The strip mall where my bus drops me off. I wait for Mr. Lake here.
Wow, this is already a pretty long entry and I haven't even gotten to the meaning behind the title of this entry. The rest of this entry is dedicated to fellow journaller and beautiful person Scott Liles. I read one of the best journal entires I have ever read. I was near tears at work when I read it. It reveals a lot of him as a person and invokes a lot of emotions for the reader. Scott has always been an interesting read; now he is one of my favorites.
The entry involves the death of a patient that he has cared for the past two and a half years. His writing is very eloquent. There are several points that the words jump out at me, so I wanted to share them with you, Constant Reader (plus, to serve as a record for myself in case that Mr. Liles ever removes the entry). I love the literary and biblical references. The entry is titled "Killing Lazarus".
"Hi Dr. Liles ... how ... uh, how is my daughter doing?" The Mother said. I knew she was waiting for me to tell her there was no improvement. I knew today that she would decide whether or not to end her only childís life. The mother trusted me, I knew that my words would sway her decision irrevocably. The Daughter was in the Pit, and I was the Pendulum.
I saw The Daughter lying there ... in the most vulnerable of
situations ... and wasnít I her doctor? Her favorite doctor even? How sick it made me to think I might be the one to influence her demise. What kind of grotesque perversion was this? She entrusted me with her life. Wasnít a one in a million chance better than no chance at all? Was I not her keeper?
Maybe she would miraculously recover again like she always did. Maybe Terminal Girl was really the The Lazarus Girl. God knows sheíd been through her share of "you-should-be-dead-by-now" crises. Was I supposed to tell The Mother to sacrifice her only child thereby branding myself with the Mark of Cain in the process?
After the longest twenty minutes in my life, my conscience doing somersaults with my intellect and my heart, my mind racing a dozen moves ahead like some mortal Chess match against Father Time and Mister Death himself ... like Gabrielís horn, the answer announced itself to me.
It came down to quality of life.
I thought she might just wake up and start breathing on her own. I thought she might once again defy all medical statistics and textbook cases ... a rebel once again as always. I secretly cheered her on. Fight it! Wake up! Cough! Breathe! Turn this dismal tragedy into a melodramatic comedy. Make me proud. Her head bobbed up and down and I thought I saw her look around. But then I looked more closely ...
Her lids opened with the force of each breath but her eyes were rolled into the back of her head. Her breathing began to slow. Her lids stayed open. Her azure irises looked toward heaven. How horribly beautiful they were, like angelsí eyes on the Sistine Chapel.
I'm not including the last 5 paragraphs of the entry, although I am sorely tempted to do so. I want you to go read it yourself, Constant Reader. Perhaps drop Scott a line and tell him if it touched you. He has more background on his past relationship with terminal girl in his December 31st, 1998 entry.
As Renee stated on journals-l after I posted the URL and a request for "great journal entries":
That entry is one of the big reasons online journals aren't passe and never will be to me.