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To Winter, With Love

The cold allows me to feel alive.

· 7 min read
To Winter, With Love
The author in the snow.

It is said that the Inuit have 52 words for snow. Snow is as varied as the clouds from which it comes. When temperatures drop below -10ºC, the snow no longer melts if it is compressed. That means that when you walk on it, the ice crystals themselves rub against each other making a kind of creaking noise. When temperatures fall further still, around the -30ºC mark, the sound of ice crystals rubbing each other become more of squeak; it is a sound that is at once louder and more delicate than the creak of mid-level cold.

When the temperatures are closer to the freezing mark, around -3ºC, the snow crystals melt together. This produces storybook snowfalls. Each flake (which is actually a fluffy collection of flakes) is a little pillow that muffles all noise so that even in the midst of a busy city, one hears nothing but silence all around. The opposite is true of frigid clear-skied cold. At -35ºC, with no wind, sound travels far and clear. Noises themselves develop a kind of glass-like clarity, as though the sound waves themselves have been turned to crystal, a sharp but thin kind of sound. One can often see the ice crystals in the air. They form a halo around the sun. On a cold sunny morning, the air itself sparkles with thousands of dazzling crystals. 

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