Monday, November 19, 2007

A Post Wherein I Shockingly Discuss Cognitive Dissonance Without Relating It To Liberalism, or, "First Snowfall of the Season"

Central Pennsylvania seems to have received its first major snowfall this weekend, and it was perfect -- enough to completely cover the ground and frost all the trees, but not enough to require an hour or so of back-breaking labor in clearing off the driveway with my dinky Wal-Mart snow shovel (if only I could afford a snow-blower!).

I suppose I have not been living here long enough yet (coming upon three years, now) to greet the first snowfall of the season with a sense of impending dread at what it portends for forthcoming snowfall -- quite the contrary, I still am filled with excitement and wonder when we have a substantial amount of accumulation (coming from regions of the country where any accumulation is a mild surprise, I suspect it will take several more years before I am beaten into gloomy, snowy pessimism).

Still, it occurred to me, upon waking up to snow-covered ground Sunday morning, that there comes with the first snowfall of the season a certain sense of cognitive dissonance that is not entirely unpleasant. Upon looking out my window, I felt the strange, otherworldly sensation of being in two places at once: first, in my own neighborhood, with the still-green, manicured lawns and black-shingled roofs all in a row, tall evergreens and vivid deciduous trees just now going barren, and then in this uniformly white landscape of smooth, gentle curves all around, with the oddly peaceful muteness that accompanies the soft fall of fat snowflakes. The effect was only more pronounced by virtue of the facts that, for one, the snowfall was unexpected, and two, it was relatively early in the season. For just a moment, I felt my heart race and my chest swell as my emotion and my reason fought for dominance in my mind, trying to sort out the apparent discontinuity between last night and this morning. With the conflict resolved by my acknowledgment of the ongoing precipitation, the serenity of relief that follows stress settled over me as I proceeded to observe the trajectory of a few lazy flakes as they aimlessly glided toward the snowy ground.

In related news, this was The Wee One's first real snowfall, having been too young to genuinely experience the last two winters of her life. It was all she could do to not leap outside as she excitedly pointed out the windows and kept repeating "snow, snow!" She figured out "cold, cold!" remarkably quickly as she tried to play with a snowball I made for her, though.



Anonymous Marty said...

Ya big kid!

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

I grew up in Buffalo, NY and have lived in the Northeast most of my life. Snow, even in record-setting quantities, is no stranger to me.

Yet I've never lost the sense of wonderment you describe. I brought my 4 year-old out to build a snowman 2 days ago.. Perfect packing conditions; not the powdery, non-sticking variety of snow you get in even colder weather. The glee on her face only added to my enjoyment.

If you do things right, you'll never lose that feeling. Or the feeling of renewal when Spring finally rolls around.

12:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got the same emotion with our fires in California, and no, I had nothing to do with them. By the way, how do I leave comments non-anonymously without signing up for some sort of account?


12:53 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Click on "other" and just input your name.

2:08 PM  

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