A contrary regional event that stands out in my mind growing up in the hot, humid south is the “Snowjam” of ’82.
Mention this to anyone who lives in the metro Georgia area and you’ll get all kinds of tales of where people were, how they got stuck (or unstuck as the case may be ), and what they hadn’t expected when snow and ice covered every square inch of homes, businesses, and roads.
Now I know people in the north are smiling and laughing at the tales of our trivial amount of inclement weather that trapped thousands without power, stuck in homes for days. I still chuckle to myself about the wonder and excitement the snow created for my brother and I as kids.
Mostly what I remember though was how incredibly bright and still it was. All the trees and power lines looked as if they had turned into sugar sticks heavily glazed with transparent ice which distorted the sticks and stems inside their winter casing.
How quiet it was standing outside listening to the crisp crackels of bits of vegetation break and fall here and there, landing in silence as their landings puffed up little bits of the snow cushioning below.
My brother and I made bowls of snow and ate them. We threw wadded crushed balls of it and pelted eachother with stinging, painful, cold, well aimed throws.
I must have spent every hour I could outside in the snow crunching it under my feet between breaks to come inside and bake frozen fingers by the stove. What I enjoyed most though was how very bright and still it was.
There were a few birds rummaging about to the feeders back and forth. The stillness of the world around me framed and exaggerated the movements and location of each bird going through their daily routine. I watched as whole bushes seemed to wiggle and snap, or limbs of trees swayed up and down under the my new found outside companions in contrast to the hard brittle branches frozen perfectly still.
With these thoughts and memories I wanted to impress the idea of this bright morning light in which the sun and snow reflected light, transmitting it back and forth to eachother as if lost in their own private conversation. I especially wanted to paint dispersed light which created a vast, cold, and still landscape where even the smallest of movements became a dramatic clip in time isolated for the moment to be played over and over again in future recollections.
So here’s to the progress and thought intention that “Snowjam” ’82 inspired my drive to create my snowy owl as it it continues ‘s painting progress. May it remind me to stock up on food, flashlights, and blankets, but mostly to remember to take time to enjoy the injections of life inbetween the stillness of winter.