Winter Wonderland

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house behind trees in snowIt’s hard to believe that last year we had such a white winter with snowstorm after snowstorm. I had piles of shoveled snow taller than me. This photo is from the park by our house in NJ from around that time last year. While I don’t really miss all of the shoveling there is a certain sense of nostalgia for a white winter. Phrases “white winter” and “winter wonderland” have a mixed set of emotional associations for me. There is the 50’s era America with all of its optimism and wholesomeness and other deeply troubling connotations that “white” brings up in that context.

I grew up in a small town which came with a similar mixed bag of social associations, and also some great memories of playing in the snow. This picture was taken standing in the middle of a park near our house in the suburbs. I’m still a bit torn about living in the burbs. Growing up in that small town I wanted nothing more than to get out and go somewhere fast-paced, urban and multicultural. I found that in New York and living in Brooklyn. My wife and I lived in Clinton Hill and both loved it. Watching the excellent documentary Brooklyn Boheme got us nostalgic (even though the time depicted in the doc was largely before ours). Eventually our desire to own a home and raise a family brought us to NJ (we did try in BKLYN but couldn’t afford it during the housing bubble).

There are other reasons. She grew up in the burbs as well and there is probably a part of both of us that finds comfort raising children on quiet tree-lined streets even while another part reaches back for the energy of the City. The city has its share of tree-lined streets but it was the quietness of the suburbs in the evening that was one of the first striking differences when we came out here. An eerie quiet at first, now totally unremarkable.

Snow, lots of it, is one of the only things that can hush the City’s symphony of sounds to a suburban whisper. I got my first taste of that in 95/96 when I was living in Queens and a major snow storm came through stopping traffic, keeping people inside and laying a hush over all. And that in turn reminds me of Venice, a city with no cars and with that a very different noise profile.

Ah well, if you’re still with me, this all is also meant to illustrate the evocative nature of photographs; something I love about them. Like this one, they don’t have to be great photos, but just have some thing in them that makes you think of some other thing, and another, and another …

One Response to “Winter Wonderland”


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  1. […] to realize that I’m probably most interested in ones that have a story with them or, as in this post, evoke stories. The story is something I’ve only minimally focused on and will, hopefully, do […]

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