Visible through the branches of a mountain ash, the streetlight on the opposing block brightens the lower corner of my bedroom window. It shines every night, all year long. It did so during my whole childhood. And while the lamp itself isn’t particularly striking–I’d never taken the time to look at it before writing this–the telephone pole and the bulb braced atop it illuminate not just the ground, but the air of that particular corner. Which, at some point during the fall, has always been filled with the small, reflective dots of snow cast in an amber glaze.
By mid-October, checking the lamp is a routine thing. There’s a tiny potential each time: perhaps, against all odds, that glance will yield the first snow of the season. Such peeks through the window put excitement into just getting up to head to the bathroom. Mornings are always easier when it’s been snowing. And though it was a slow sort of agony to sit in school when I was younger, snow coming down fueled the skiing stoke for later.
So when I arrived back in Montana two days ago from the UK, I was greeted by a snowstorm upon landing. Once home, I looked out the window to see the lamp, and the little dots descending under it, blanketing me with the comfort and excitement of all the years that I’ve stared out into the darkness at that streetlight. It’s winter. It’s time. It’s on.