The Prompter Room

For Friday, February 12, 2016:


“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.  Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

Roald Dahl

Today in Vermont is what I call a ‘glitter day.’  The temperature is creeping up to zero degrees (F), the sun is coming up, there’s snow on the ground, and there’s a fine snow in the air.  That’s where the glitter is: look in the direction of the sun and the snow catches the sunlight and falls through the air as tiny prisms.

These are the days when I feel like I’m in a snow globe.  It’s as if Tinkerbell’s fairy dust is all around me, and I can almost hear its magic ring out from each microscopic flake.

Even though I am not much of a winter person – I don’t ski or skate or snowboard, for instance – there are some good things about it and I wait for glitter days every year.  The thing is, it must be quite cold for them to happen.  If you’re outside, you can’t feel the glitter snow, but you can breathe it in.  As ephemeral as the snow is, that icy shaft of air going into your lungs really wakes you up.

It took coming to Vermont for me fully to appreciate the wonders of winter.  My family moved here 20 years ago in one of the coldest and snowiest winters in decades, and it was then that I first experienced the magic of glitter days.

Since then I have made it a point to look for the secrets of winter, the cold, the snow.  I love the footprints the birds and creatures leave in the snow, especially those who come in the night as if they move about in silence.  More than a few poems and vignettes have appeared as a result of ‘reading the snow’ and stitching together the stories the prints leave for me.  We can see farther into the woods without leaves on the trees, and sometimes we glimpse a fox trotting through, intent on going back to her den, or a porcupine climbing a tree, or a moose or deer staring back at us.  A flash of flame can be either a cardinal or the crest of a pileated woodpecker.

The thing is, we have to look for them in likely and unlikely places.  We have to ready ourselves to watch for them.

As writers, we have to watch the whole world.  Most of us don’t live in snow globes, and there is much in the world that is difficult to look upon.  There is, however, a lot of magic still to see and watch and be a part of.  Where can you find, how can you make your own glitter days?


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