The last two years, winter didn’t arrive in force till late January, early February, but when it arrived, it brought plenty of snow. And this year it looks to be happening again. Which reminded me of a rare snow-appreciation column I wrote in early February, 2013:

Never dreamed we’d reach a point where I would stop taking snow for granted. Chalk up another unintended consequence to climate change. Snow, which hadn’t settled on us for the better part of a year, once again feels enchanting. Waking to unexpected snow this past weekend waltzed me back to the wonder of childhood.

Snow is that soft idealizer, godlike in its perfection, descending upon the world, momentarily obscuring the world’s imperfections, which all too soon gain the upper hand, turning this perfect precipitation into a sloppy swamp of slush.

Over the years, I gradually stopped marveling at snow’s unadulterated whiteness, its ability to profoundly transform the surrounding landscape, the way it accommodates itself to surfaces, chameleon-like in its conformity, miming and lining the graceful swirl of tree branches and accentuating the regularity of clay tile roofs.

Snowing has always been preferable to having snowed. Looking out from my windows, I am soothed by the peaceful aimless descent of flakes, the sudden sideways minuets, choreographed by capricious winds. But I came to dislike living with snow. With each step we sully the stuff, subjecting it to the original sins of our man-made artificiality, turning it gray with soot, debris, polluting effluence. We tromp it down, compressing and converting it to tricky, treacherous, uneven ice.

In the country, whole fields and forests remain un-fouled by boot soles and rubber tires. There snow creates an alternate reality, not easily found in citified environs — with one exception this year: Scoville Park, fenced off for renovation, was reborn this past weekend as an unblemished snow reserve. No dogs pranced through this comfortable coverlet with puppy-like rejuvenation. No child sledded pathways down its gently sloping ridge. Squirrels may lightly jostle the un-mottled mantel, but it suffers no mammals more disruptive. Like some promised land, it tantalizes with the luster of mid-day, just beyond reach behind the awkward, hastily assembled, chain-link fence that contains and protects it.

Inside the coffee house across the street, a babbling toddler stands on the adjacent stool, pointing to the park, then turning to me, as if instructing. I understand perfectly. We’re seeing with the same eyes. Her dad says, “That’s the library, isn’t it?” But I know it’s not what she’s focused on. Books come later. Right now she is absorbed by the wintry wonder of snow. She has lived a lifetime without snow.

Until recently, I didn’t miss it one bit. Like an ex-lover, I am well acquainted with how difficult it can be.

But while it is falling, all is forgiven. Utterly disinterested in where it settles, snow is gravity’s greatest admirer. Every good snowfall surrenders to Earth’s irresistible magnetism.

Eskimos, I’ve been told, have names for 40 different kinds of snow, and so should we. There is lazy snow, snow that snarls traffic, picture-postcard snow, snow that completely shuts us down, snow that covers the grass but melts on pavement, snowman snow, good-packing snow, snow that sticks, snow that piles, snow that drifts, snow that stubbornly resists melting, snow that hangs around for weeks and obliterates all memory of the ground beneath, overnight snow that gives plows a head start on the morning commute, snow that forms large crystallized conglomerates as it descends, small-bore snow driven like a blitzkrieg by an angry wind, snow that binds and snow that blinds.

Indiscriminate, snow plays no favorites, shuns no one and nothing. Snow is the ultimate disciple of democracy, proof that all men and women are coated equal.

I don’t miss the logistical complications of snow, but I do miss the kind of severe winter that magnifies the ecstatic euphoria come spring. If climate change deprives us of that hard-earned payoff, I will miss even the slog that precedes it.

I savored the snow that visited last weekend — just deep enough, covering what should be covered, leaving clear what needs to be clear, light enough for easy brushing and shoveling, the kind that glistens in the sunlight. Snow that alights and delights.

The kind of snow you just can’t take for granted.

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