Essay on a Winter Landscape

My 16 year-old recently wrote this descriptive essay about what it’s like to go outside after a snow storm. Since yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday post was one of our front yard after Monday night’s snow storm, I thought it would be the perfect time to share it (with her permission):

When winter arrives and brings with it the cold snow that characterizes the season, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the sight, sounds, and smells that accompany it. The sensations that come with the snow storms of the cold season are memorable and well-known to those who have grown used to them, and are usually looked forward to during the end of summer and the midst of autumn. Whether it be a person’s first snowfall or their hundredth, however, the way in which the frozen crystals transform and crystalize the world is still just as unforgettable.

The usual surrounding landscape is entirely transformed when snow falls. Where there was once pale, dead grass, there is now endless, rolling hills of crystal. Trees look like thin, bare dancers, twisting up from the cold ground, and as the snow gathers on the branches, they are clothed with decadent ivory jewels. Bushes become lumps of sugar, and the power lines that dip down between the poles become heavy, sagging as they are laden with the weight of the flakes, eventually disappearing and taking on an appearance that suggests the snow itself is suspended between the telephone poles.

As more snow collects on the landscape, a certain hush falls over the world. The snow seems to mute the usual sounds that go hand in hand with the bustle of everyday life. As people hurry from place to place, their movements cause a quiet crunching and squeaking to arise as the snow is tamped down beneath their feet. Later in the day, as the branches and limbs of the trees and bushes become weighted with the frozen crystals, they settle down, creaking and groaning as they come to rest.

The smell of snow, however, is difficult to explain. The frozen water crystals have a certain scent to them, an almost crisp odor. It stifles the smell of the pines and the miasma of the rotting leaves beneath the bleak branches, replacing it instead with the smell of what could be considered the cold itself. Soon to join that inexpressible scent, though, is the heavy aroma of hot chocolate and warm baked goods. Although they are not the smell of the snow in itself, these are so often associated with the frozen flakes that at the first snowfall of a winter, the memories of the past winter are so strong that at times, it is almost possible to catch that faint scent drifting through the air at the mere sight of such a blizzard.

Overall, the sensations that accompany snow are memorable and long-lasting, especially those of the sights, sounds, and smells. Winter scenes such as these impact people so much that there are many beautiful poems written to capture the beauty on paper, although it is admittedly difficult to convey the full effects of a blizzard within a few words. In conclusion, the freshly fallen snow has a profound effect on the world and how people go about their lives, no matter how often or how many times it has occurred.


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