Snowy Grace

I woke up this morning to snow. And there's something about snow in November that makes me blue.

Amidst the swirling snow did I leave the hospital that day 2 years ago. In an almost blizzard I left the hospital, and the swirling snow became an atmospheric metaphor for the loss in my soul.

I have long maintained that I can handle a cold Alberta winter. It may be bitter cold, but there is bright blue sky and yellow sun, and miles of space. Alberta is anything but colourless in the Winter. Even the snow reflects the dazzled glory. Alberta is a land of deep colours, blue and grey mountains, green conifers, and brilliant snow.

I am, at my heart, a prairie girl. I always will be. And yet, when the snow closes in, when it swirls around I cannot take refuge or find comfort. I used to look at a blizzard as a wonderful thing, a chance to curl up, light the house, put on a fire, get a blanket. Comfort. Blizzards are soft and tender when you are in the house. The cloud cover keeps the light level low, playing hide and seek with illumination. It is dark and then lighter, in a random sense of play.

And I woke up this morning, looking at the snow all around me, and I remembered that day, the way the snow stung my face, my hands. I felt the scrape and blemish of ice crystals on fragile skin. There is no comfort, the snow, the wind, it is oppressive. There are no wide open space, reflected glory. Trudging to the car, arms and heart empty. Leaving Gabriel behind, looking back at the morgue in the basement, thinking of my son on cold, hard stone.

There's something about snow in Alberta, in November, that takes me back to that terrible place, where I am, once again, small and fragile. Newly born and so very old.