Sunday, February 21, 2021

That Quality of Awe

I recently shared an excerpt from Katherine May’s Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times. This evening I share another one, a sharing inspired by today’s light dusting of snow.


Try as I might, I can’t produce the adult hardness towards a snowfall, full of resentment at the inconvenience. I love the inconvenience the same way that I sneakingly love a bad cold: the irresistible disruption to mundane life, forcing you to stop for a while and step outside your normal habits. I love the visual transformation it brings about, that recolouring of the world into sparkling white, the way that the rules change so that everybody says hello as they pass. I love what it does to the light, the purplish clouds that loom before it descends, and the way it announces itself from behind your curtains in the morning, glowing a diffuse whiteness that can only mean snow. Heading out in a snowstorm to catch the flakes on my gloves, I love the feeling of it fresh underfoot. I am rarely childlike and playful except in snow. It swings me into reverse gear.

Snow creates that quality of awe in the face of a power greater than ours. It epitomizes the aesthetic notion of the sublime, in which greatness and beauty couple to overcome you – a small, frail human – entirely.

Katherine May
Excerpted from Wintering: The Power
of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

Riverhead Books
pp. 164-165

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Photo of the Day – December 7, 2019
In Minneapolis, A Snowy February Friday
After the Season's First Snowstorm, a Walk Through the Neighborhood
First Snowfall
Winter of Content
Brigit Anna McNeill on “Winter’s Way”
Winter Beauty
Winter . . . Within and Beyond (2020)
Winter . . . Within and Beyond (2019)
Winter . . . Within and Beyond (2017)
Winter Light
A Winter Walk Along Minnehaha Creek
Winter Storm (2016)
Winter Storm (2012)
Winter’s Return
Three Winter Gatherings
In Wintry Minnesota, An Australian Afternoon Tea

Image: “Skylight View” by Michael J. Bayly.

No comments: