Today was a glorious snow day, after the blizzard blanketed the city with white glistening snow. As I walked through the park, I was moved to see how much bright light was available, in December, yet.
All sunlight is not the same of course. When I borrowed red violet goggles from my optometrist who wanted me to get more of that color, I wore them in the streets and found that part of the color spectrum did not penetrate to the streets- I could only see it in the sky or wide open spaces. What happens is that the angle of the sun gets cut off, so while the full spectrum light is there when you look up at the sky, you are not actually in the full spectrum. But the snow is full of millions of crystals that bend, reflect, and concentrate the light. It is Creation’s way of compensating for the low light conditions of the north. It doesn’t have the UVB that makes Vitamin D, but the brightness lifts depression.
The world was crystalline with the snowfall. Snow was caught in the ridges of red oak bark and on the prickles of the liquidamber seed balls still attached to the trees. Cross country skiers crisscrossed the park. Children slid down any minor slope on sleds, snow discs, garbage can lids and even Rubbermaid storage containers. A Vietnamese family photographed their children in new green parkas and a matching sled.
In the woods, red berries decorated the bare branches of the viburnums. The Amberkill Falls still poured over snow-covered stones, but ice covered the pool just above where a feral goldfish colony had been swimming just a month earlier. A white pine tree glistened green alone among the bare oaks and sycamores. Dog Beach was fenced off for the season since the pond was frozen over.
It is important to get out in the snow whenever we have a good day. The light helps pull us out of our winter blaughs and infuses us with an energy that can otherwise be difficult to maintain during the dark time of the year.