One of the greatest resources any writer has is not to be found via a keyboard or a trip to the library. It’s the physical body.
We had a lovely snow here on Christmas Eve, giving my family our first ever Family White Christmas.
On Christmas morning, I ran out to take pictures, but my eyes were not what caught my first sensations from out of doors that day.
My skin noted the cold, but also that it wasn’t frigid. My ears caught the sounds of it all. When I stood motionless on the walk in front of the house, I could hear the sound of rain. It wasn’t really rain, of course, but the melting snow dripping and blowing from the pines across the street. The noise of it all surprised me. I had thought melting snow to be a quiet sort of sound.
I was wrong. Water is powerful. Even in tiny amounts it can be a force with which to reckon.
I wanted to take pictures of our pretty White Christmas, though, so I dashed across the street and was immediately pelted with all that melting snow. In the face. On my camera. As pretty as the snow had been, the memory that has lasted most vividly has been the sound of it all.
That and one particular image.
The drops of melted snow were not terribly friendly to feel, though they sounded peaceful enough. It was still surprising me, even as I tried (unsuccessfully) to dodge the wet stuff and take my pictures. Out of all that I managed to snap, though, this one was my favorite. Snow, pinecones, and a clear, clear sky that might have been at home during a bright spring day.
I came out from the raining pines and just listened for a moment or two longer before returning indoors to where my guys were enjoying our getting-ready-to-go-to-Grandma’s-House time. I listened. I closed my eyes and felt the wind on my face, reminding me I had wet streaks in my hair. I relished the chill in the air.
Someday, I’ll want to recall these sensations and share them. You can’t really experience them any other place than out in the world.
If you’re a writer, remember that. Nothing takes the place of experience.