December 25th, 2004

Fishy Circumstances

White Christmas

I spent much of the day staring out the window.

It wasn't for lack of good company, presents, or feasting. It wasn't for the local firework displays, scattering their light in showers and cascades. It wasn't even because it snowed during the afternoon, big flakes large enough that a sprinkling makes for a fair amount of white thinly spread over the winter landscape, a very rare phenomenon on Christmas Day in these parts.

It was because today, it hailed most of the day, off and on.

I find hail magical. Little gems of layered ice have been cycled around up in the clouds for quite a while before they've formed, before they can fall and bounce and scatter. Long before the day offered up snow, it had already coated the ground in a thick, white layer of fine hailstorms before they melted again. It stuck to the smooth, cool surfaces of cars the longest. They looked as though snow had fallen long before it had.

Now the fireworks are shimmering through a haze of bare tree branches, a block or three down the road, illuminating the snow, the midwinter, Christmas, and underneath it all, a thin remaining layer of hailstones.