There are many words for snow

Back when unenlightened folk called the Inuit tribes eskimos, an anthropologist claimed there were a hundred eskimo words for snow, and ever since then other anthropologists have been kept busy arguing the veracity of this. There are indeed many words for snow. Surely even the least imaginative of us has given snow at least a dozen names.

There is muthafuckashitfuckface the epic and unwanted Monday morning snow, when the car snarls angrily and won’t start, when your entire body hurts and you have to be elsewhere an hour ago. Then there’s prettywinterwonderland of the snow seen from warm indoors on an evening, with a glass of single malt in your hand and a cat curled purring by your side.  But all the best words for snow are forgotten, unspoken and blanketed deep down within us.

There is the wide-eyed, cuddled, infant gasp we gave when we first saw the world made brighter, we reached out from our mother’s arms, and grasped at melting coldness. There is the snotty exclamation of wild joy we made as  children escaping from the confines of school into the first falling flakes of winter. There’s the winters from history with our buried ancestral languages; for me the words my grandparents used, mae’n bwrw eira, it’s snowing. I feel those old words melting away. Then there is Stefan’s word, snö; minimal, crisp and perfect.


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