All of the days were cold on my recent trip. The air was fresh, but the skies were blue and the sun shone brightly.
Apart from one day in New York, when the sky turned white and drop upon drop of snow fell down in a flurry of activity that ceased to stop for a moment or run out of energy for an entire day. The falling snow added a new sense of time to the streets, as it fell in fast flurries yet it slowed everything down. Cars ceased speeding and instead started to crawl. As the snow fell it nipped at my cheeks and forced me to pull my scarf up to cover my nose and my hood down to my loom over my eyes. As I breathed into my scarf, my glasses started to steam up on the inside as the snow made wet droplets on the outside. The snow storm blurred my vision and transformed the city in one swift movement.
The next day I woke up to blue skies again, I woke up to cold air again, but everything otherwise looked different. Benches were draped in sparkly white blankets and you suddenly had new choices to consider when walking down the street – opt for the cleared walkway or delve into the untouched snowy section of the pavement.
You suddenly found snow hiding in unexpected places, hiding from the bright sun in an effort to stay crisp on these cold days.
You found iced up lakes in Central Park and snowballs sitting atop it it proudly.
The cold meant putting on layer upon layer of clothing was a necessity. The cold meant I learned not to trust my visual weather barometer, as the blue skies were deceiving and on the few occasions I opted for less layers I quickly came to regret it. As real cold has a way of setting in when you are walking around the city for hours. The fresh air has a way hitting bare flesh quickly and sharply. The fresh air has a way of navigating in between the creases of your clothing just to quickly and sharply hit any bare flesh it finds. The fresh air has a way of knocking the warm air out of you. It can make you gasp at its ability to make such an impact.
I found the only good solution too the cold was multiple layers and silly hats. Layers of merino wool, layers of soft fleece, layers of down filled coats, layers of bubbly wool scarves, layers of long socks… that carefully overlapped to ensure that I was wrapped up tighter than a perfectly crafted parcel. Sometimes, it is actually quite nice that it is so cold that you get to put all of these layers on. There is a real sense of satisfaction that you can attain by wrapping yourself up in such a manner. As the cold wind snapped and I pulled my hood up, its furry edge blocked my field of vision so I had to focus on what was in the smaller than usual viewing space, or I had to purposefully turn my head if I wanted to look at something or speak to someone. The cold meant I also had a reason to sample a good selection of hot chocolate. It was a real treat to see New York in the snow.
Words & Images © Hazel Saunderson