I drained the last drop of tea as I looked out of the sliding glass doors onto the grassy expanse that ran along the back of the apartment buildings. Only it was grassy no longer. White, fluffy snow caked everything in sight, the cars on the parking lot to the left, the steps leading down from the street onto the open space behind our apartment, the wooden fence on the other side of the evergreens, the evergreens. Icicles hung from the branches, from the bottoms of the cars and they held on for dear life to the balcony railing. From my cozy family room, all was right with the world. It was January of 1993 and my first winter in the US and my very first winter of any consequence.
I just wanted to touch the snow. Was it as I imagined it to be? Smooth, soft, squishy? Would it stay in my hand or would it crumble? Could I make a snowball? Would it make my hands cold and wet?
I grabbed a jacket from the coat closet and ran out to the front steps. Delight! Snow, within reach! Except for one set of footsteps on one side of the steps and in the middle of the footpath, the snow was unblemished. I decided to make my way to the bush to the side of the steps. The snow formed a mound over the bush. It seemed a good place to start as any, a good place to begin my acquaintance with snow. Without thinking or not wanting to disturb the snow, I can't remember now, I put my feet, one after the other, in the exact same spaces as the previous set of feet. I made my down the steps and reached a bit longer to fit my foot into the foot on the sidewalk.
In a flash I found myself on my butt, acquiring a whole new perspective of the underside of a very dirty car. Too embarrassed to even look around to see who might have been witness, I got up hurriedly and went right back in.