Snow magic

Holidays over
first day back to school
we heard it might snow
what we get
is gale force winds
diagonal rain
and utter darkness
(oh, those kids waiting at bus stops…)
which is why so many don’t come
there are just four kids in one room,
six in another,
and so on
not to mention that at home
the power went out
before I could get ready
hardly an enchanting winter morn
except for candles…

when I finally arrive at work
my family texts
it is pouring snow here,
pouring
but when I look through the windows
don’t see any of it
not any
just cold cold rain
collecting in huge puddles
on this dark dark day
until
I pass a teacher in the hallway
leaning out of the glass door,
scouring the iron-gray sky
are you looking for snow?
oh yes, if it starts,
I am bringing my class
out here in the hall
to read Snowmen at Night


just then, we see
the first flakes of white…

all over the building
children run to the windows
for every little bit of magic
they can find

or perhaps it’s more a matter
of letting the magic find you

or maybe even
a determination to
make the magic
yourself

for it is in yourself
just as it is
in every single
falling crystal

and most certainly
in books.

Detail of a magical mask design a colleague made and happened to give me today.
You will have caught the book connections in the first two photos; can you catch the last?

15 thoughts on “Snow magic

  1. So I am wishing for you a snow day today. It’s hard enough to go back to school after the winter break, but to have the almost snow and dark must’ve made it even that much harder. I love your conclusion about magic. “Make the magic yourself.” Wave your magic wand over children with reading aloud. I wish I could smell that Narnia candle…

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    • Alas, Margaret – the snow yesterday was fleeting and the ground too warm and wet for it to stick, but we got the next best thing to a snow day: a two-hour delay today! More time to write! And read! Temperatures dropped into the 20s overnight. I am watching the sun cast its rose-gold light over the icy ground, sparkling with myriad colors. Must get myself going and see what magic awaits in this new day.

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  2. There is so much much magic in snowlight, Fran. We can let the magic find us when we open our eyes to possibilities. Is your one word magic? If so, it fits well with awe.
    I can imagine the sight of all the classrooms watching the snow fall down-beautiful crystals that when caught bring the magic of wonder.

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    • Snowlight…glorious word, Carol. A holy hush descended upon our building when those snowflakes began to fall. Awe remains my “word,” so closely linked to wonder and, yes, magic! Many thanks and here’s to the magic that will find us this year, my friend!

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  3. Oh how I love your poems, your writing, Fran! The images of the children running to the windows warms my heart. The anticipation feeling of magic and anticipation, first for the snow, then for the rain to to turn to snow is beautifully captured. I caught the Narnia reference right at the start and the last picture of the magical mask reminded me of Snowflake Bentley! Happy New Year, Fran!

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    • One of our teachers said “Math went out the window when the snow started” – for children literally ran over to watch it fall. Mesmerizing magic. The Chronicles of Narnia is my favorite series since childhood. My oldest son gave me the candle and other Narnia-related things for Christmas – he’s just finished reading the series and he cried like a baby. Snowflake Bentley-! What a great book! I gave a copy to my five-year-old granddaughter last year. The mask snowflake is made of snitches…a nod to Harry Potter. A happy and magical New Year to you and yours, Dawn! Thank you.

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  4. Such a perfect candle to think of falling snow crystals holding magic – finding it, believing in it, letting it find us. The images make me feel like I could walk right through that wardrobe and feel the wonder of snowflakes. Beautiful – – absolutely beautiful!

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    • My oldest gave me that candle for Christmas along with a couple of other Narnian things. He knows the Chronicles are my lifelong favorite series. He just finished reading them at age 32 and wept so hard that his six-year-old daughter tried to offer comfort. He sent me a text after The Last Battle: “It broke me.” Narnia’s in his blood now, as it’s ben in mine since childhood.The photo of the last snowflake…it’s made of snitches, a nod to Harry Potter. Thank you for your words, Kim!

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  5. Such a beautiful post. As a Canadian who is biologically-opposed to Winter, you even melted my heart for the white stuff. So descriptive — the “diagonal rain and the “iron-gray” really stood out for me. So evocative. Thank you for sharing!

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    • “Biologically opposed to Winter”- what a phrase! As a lifelong resident of the southeastern US I am awed every time it falls and blankets the ground (maybe a time or two each winter and sometimes not at all). The excitement in children is palpable. Thank you, Karen.

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  6. I totally agree with your idea of magic, “for it is in yourself” – so true! I loved being reminded of the wonderful book Snowmen at Night – such a wonderful read on a snowy day. I adored your narrative poem…such a great way to share a slice of one’s life.

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  7. There’s so much I love about this post (not to mention that candle that I must absolutely find)!

    Oh, the wonder of that first snow at school. One of my favorite memories as a classroom teacher is the tradition I held with all of my students. Each winter, I’d have black paper and magnifying glasses at the ready. Then, at that magical first snow, we’d run outside to catch snowflakes on our coats, our tongues, our papers, and just…revel in it all.

    Thank you for bringing me back there. =))

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    • “Revel in it all” – that’s EXACTLY what is called for in the first snow! I suppose I might feel differently if I lived in a place where it snows deep and stays all winter and gets icky in general…but the sheer beauty of those falling flakes, well, it will remain magical to me forever. That scene of you and the kids…priceless and perfect. I’d be right out there with you, reveling. 🙂

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