Snow is "frozen crystalline water" that "precipitates from clouds" and "ultimately melts, slides or sublimates away." Snow is the condition under which my three-year-old son and five-year-old daughter built an igloo in Riverbank State Park in the year I learned that I would be raising them alone. My son always loved to feel the cold in a way that I couldn't understand, and dove into the snow repeatedly until the chill began to burn. My daughter loved snow for its beauty and the way she could build things with it.
It's snowing today and now the seasons seem both more temporary and more absolute. The snow will pass but when the next one comes, how much more will have changed? My son is in university now, and my daughter is traveling. My mother is in the house I grew up in, observing the clear, dull sky through her bedroom window. When the next snow comes, will she still be there? Will my son or daughter be here? Will I?
As a girl, I used to imagine what it would be like when I was grown up in a house with my own children and family. When my daughter asked me what the main purpose of my life was, I said it was to have her and her brother. I still feel that, and until last year that was the center of everything I did. I never thought about what it would be like when that was over, when they didn't need me in the same way.
Even the idea of finding a partner was connected to the idea of having children, and when that was no longer a possibility I found that the nature of my desire changed. I have come to love solitude and freedom. I no longer pine or yearn for things I can't have. But I still love those moments of connection that come, like the snow, with the mystery of not knowing how much will have changed by their next visitation.