My First Snow

by: Hoda Joudi Haghighi

snow on campus
Snow on campus.

I was raised surrounded by water. I learned to watch my steps walking over stones in the cold rivers born from the mountains where my grandfather grew up. I learned to float in the warm Caribbean waters, to lay still and let go. I learned to stand strong against the high tide of the Pacific, known for breaking bones and swallowing souls. I learned that rain can never ruin a day when you are willing to have fun under it. I learned I can long to be and belong to the same place by looking at my beautiful hometown lake every time I went back. Being from Honduras, snow had never been part of my life until I moved to Carbondale.

I was so excited to see snow for the first time that people told me I was hallucinating anytime I saw the tiny snowflakes defying the weather and announcing an early and cold winter. For a week we would have a couple of minutes of snow that would be confused with a drizzle, we were not supposed to see snow until later in the year, but I could feel it was going to be sooner. It was the water calling out for me. The first snowfall hit sooner than expected, proving me right.

snow on campus at the student center
Snow on campus at the Student Center.

I was living in Evergreen Terrace back then. I went out to the balcony and took a moment in complete silence to just touch the snow, feel its coldness directly on my skin. Minutes later, a friend from Honduras who lived a couple of buildings away was knocking on my door; he was as excited as me and wanted us to share the moment. We were just two kids playing around, putting salt on the snow and watching it melt, putting our hands out to see how much we could collect, trying to watch the different shapes the tiny snowflakes had.

I was left alone with the snow, by late in the evening it had covered the ground, all you could see around was covered in this white blanket. It reminded me of the ocean, the way it sparkled when touched by the light. I realized then that snow is just water, this foreign snow was the water that had followed me my whole life; for a second Carbondale felt like home. This also meant there was a lesson to be learned. Snow taught me there is beauty in death and a promise of rebirth under the cold white blanket, I just had to hang on.

the first snow on campus

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