Snow

Julian Alps

When was the first time you ever saw snow? Have you been brought up in snowy mountains or skiing resorts where you have always known snow? I mean, proper, pure white snow, inches deep, painting the church spires and roof tops in silver, carpeting the roads and streets and playgrounds. The flying snow flakes which keep falling from the sky, and covering the roads and houses, the whole earth with its shiny, almost blinding whiteness, soft and cool to touch, decorating the landscape like a deft hand of a free-spirited artist.  A true winter wonderland, stretching endlessly in front of your eyes.

Wanna a Snow Fight?

That very first time when I experienced snow was nearly three decades ago when I went to study in Nanjing, a city by the Yangzhi River, about 1000 miles downstream from Chongqing, where I was born and raised. Chongqing, as one of the ‘fire furnaces’ in China, could be extremely hot and humid in the summer. In winter months it was usually very cold but the temperature not quite low enough to beckon snow falling and roads frozen. In my mind’s eye, I did picture snow as a child, from the books I had read and from my limited imagination. In my young and naïve heart, snow, like the sea, was something sublimely beautiful which I dearly wanted to experience. It was almost like a dream for me, something not quite within reach, yet held my heart in some strange way.

Quite unexpectedly and without much planning on my part, my journey took me to Nanjing one summer. For the first time, I was able to leave my home province Sichuan and ventured beyond. En route, I did a detour and travelled to the coast of northern China and made a splash in the deep blue sea. It was an incredible moment that lingered in my memory long after the actual experience. Then winter arrived in Nanjing.

One morning, I looked out of my dorm window and was suddenly greeted by the shining whiteness outside. “Wow, snow!  Oh my God, it’s snowing,” I squealed with delight, my voice an unnatural pitch. My excitement and exhilaration almost caused me to fall down from the top of my bunk bed. It certainly woke up my roommates from their dreams, causing the girl below me a sudden movement, banging her head on the pole. “Ouch! Bloody hell! Have you never seen snow before?” She grunted,  glaring at me in utter disbelief, more than a hint of annoyance.

Snow in Scotland

I jumped out of bed, quickly putting on a jacket, faster than ever, and sprang out into the cold, bright and pure white world. I knelt down, touched its coolness and tasted it, let it melt slowly in my mouth. It was an unforgettable feeling, an unidentifiable yet definite happiness arising from the core of my heart. Maybe it was like someone who took drugs for the first time? I am not sure, but it was one of the most joyful moments in my life I had ever felt. It was bliss.

We always remember the first time, don’t we? The first time we felt the crush towards a boy, that first kiss, the first date, the first time I set my eyes on the sea, and the sweet memory of all the wonderous, significant moments in growing up. For me, the first glimpse and touch of snow was magical, pure and simple delight.

If you listen, you can hear the footsteps of spring

About Junying Kirk

I came to Britain from China in 1988. I have worked as an academic, administrator, researcher, teacher, professional interpreter/translator and cultural consultant. Currently working as an International Partnerships Manager in a large UK university, I enjoy reading, writing, sampling a variety of yummy foods, travelling the world and blogging about my adventures :). My 'Journey to the West' trilogy - 'The Same Moon', 'Trials of Life' and 'Land of Hope' are available on Amazon (both on Kindle and paperbacks), Smashwords and iBook. I live in Birmingham, UK with my husband.
This entry was posted in China & East Asia, Short Stories, True Life Story, UK, USA & Europe and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Snow

  1. Mariam Kobras says:

    While I’m not a great fan of snow and cold, I have to tell you I adore your writing, Junying. You ALMOST made me like the freezing white stuff. ;)

    • Junying says:

      Thanks, Mariam.

      Not a big fan of cold either – I know how cold it can get in Germany (I was nearly frozen to death while visiting Berlin one New Year :) But if you come from a very hot place like Chongqing where the summer is a constant 40 degrees and above, the the relative cold is more than a welcome change.

      I love your writing too, so the feeling is mutual :)

  2. Dannie Hill says:

    What a great post, Junying. You took me with you as you saw snow for the first time.
    As a kid I loved snow but it only came a few times each year. It was magical.

    I don’t miss now– I live in the ‘fire furnace’ of Thailand and am quite happy in the heat, but I do remember.

    Beautiful pictures, too.

    Thank you.

    • Junying says:

      Dannie,

      It’s always a joy to see you here, and your compliment means a world to me. Yes, I can see that you enjoy life in steaming hot Thailand and you have a beautiful home there. Having said how much I love snow, overall, I still prefer the British Spring and Summer :)

      Thanks for coming along in my continued discovery of the world and writing!

  3. Ey Wade says:

    What a trip you took me on. I could almost feel the cold. Here in Spring, TX (very near Houston) our ‘snow’ consisted of a deluge of rain and 70 degrees. That was yesterday. This morning its in the 40s. I do remember my first experience of real snow.. my family moved to Alaska when I was eleven. To wake up and realize the earth could just switch its clothing from a drab coat of brown to a beautiful white mink was astounding. Forget the fact my fingers froze, my nose was never clearer and the fun in trying to create snow scenes only dreamed of. The air so cold all I could smell was an empty, cool breeze straight through to my stomach. I am reminded of the feeling whenever I’m digging in the freezer for something. Just cool, crisp,

    • Junying says:

      Wow, Ey, you’ve taken me to Alaska with your beautiful words. I love that vivid description of “the earth could just switch its clothing from a drab coat of brown to a beautiful white mink”. I was there with you too!

      Thanks for popping over and sharing your experience of snow.

  4. Mrunal Bhongale says:

    U have written exactly my experience which i have enjoyed yesterday in London :)

  5. eden baylee says:

    Great writing – couldn’t you describe lying on the beach instead? :)

    We have no snow here – just the way I like it.
    eden
    xox

    • Junying says:

      Eden, living in Canada, I know how you feel – you must have more snow than you wish for :)

      Guess what? I usually go for beach holidays, not skiing, so there will be more beach blogs coming :)

  6. I remember the first time I saw snow: I was six years old and my family traveled from our home in Miami, Florida to Petersburg, Virginia, to spend Christmas with the grandparents. Everything was brown and gray and dreary and cold, and all the buildings had pipes on the roof that emitted puffs of smoke. I didn’t know what caused the smoke because we didn’t have fireplaces or furnaces in Miami. When we were a little chilled at home, we would open the oven door and turn it on, maybe toast bread while we were at it. In Petersburg, the snow had pretty much disappeared except for a few glittery patches in Nanny’s yard. I liked it, but was frightened by the differences between sunny South Florida’s landscape (blue sky, blue water, green grass and palm trees) and Virginia’s winter drab. Funny, as I look out the window here in northeast Pennsylvania, surrounded by bare trees and under a gray sky, I see it’s snowing. You must have cursed me!

    • Junying says:

      Madeline,

      Many thanks for sharing your remembrance of your first snow :) Gosh, you have travelled around in America, and I bet sunny Florida wins hands down in terms of climate – who wouldn’t want blue sky, the sea, green grass and palm trees?

      Keep warm, my friend, and lovely of you to come and comment :)

Leave a Reply