On snow and marriage | Sofia, Bulgaria

I have to admit that this year, in addition to waiting for the first snow with anticipation for all the usual reasons, I could hardly wait for it so I could take a picture standing in it.

For me, the time before the first snow falls and covers the ground each year is one of a child-like, giddy anticipation. Once it finally does – after a few false alarms caused by snowflakes that melt as soon as they touch the ground, a certain kind of serene calm sets in.

The hours, and sometimes days, after the first heavy snowfall are always magical (unless you happen to be traveling, all transport is grounded and you end up being stuck at airports for Christmas, in which case they are just plain annoying). Up in the mountains, snow makes nature seem even more glorious, almost otherworldly. In cities, it covers the noise, grime and frenzy and somehow renews them, making them appear pure and calm. One of my favorite things to experience is New York in the hours after a snowstorm, which has managed to do the impossible – making the unceasing, loud, crazy city go quiet, even if just for a moment.

A while back, I happened upon a New York Times article reflecting on the marriage of a couple whose wedding the newspaper had reported on years earlier. The article made parallels between snowfall and love. It likened the marriage of the couple in question to “a good snowfall,” as “for one thing, it makes hanging out at home more fun.” It also pointed out that, “while marriages and snowfalls can be terrifying, they are both just made up of small things that accumulate.”

The calloused cynical part of me is of course tempted to take that parallel further, to the time when the magic and pureness of snow get ruined by physical reality, which turns into a not-so-magical, wet, dirty, gray-brown slush. Transfer that to marriage and it’s not too difficult to imagine the time after the novelty, excitement and butterflies wear off and get replaced by dirty dishes, unpaid bills, annoying habits and screaming children. But then, in the spirit of love, optimism and all that, I would hope that – just like we brave the slush every year, so that we can get to the blossoming spring, the lazy summer and the beautiful autumn, and then back to giddily waiting for snow to fall, good marriages plow through the not-so-pleasant in order to get to the good times ahead.

Uhm…. anyways…. I have managed to reach unsuspected levels of optimism and cheesiness, even for myself. Now, if you’ll excuse me while I go outside and crush a snowman right in front of the children who lovingly made it.  While I’m at it, I might as well tell them Santa doesn’t exist.

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