The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Saturday, December 06, 2003  

First of the Season Hits Philadelphia

The first snow of the season began falling on Philadelphia late Friday, an occasion that normally would please me, or at the very least, not bother me a bit.

I like snow. And I live in Center City and I don’t have a car -- hell, I don’t even have a job -- so I don’t need to navigate the streets when snow comes, whether as predicted or by surprise.

I can stay home, try to stay warm, and watch the flakes descending upon the city, each making its own path toward the cold ground.

And yet I’m unhappy, sad because this is the wrong kind of snow, especially for the first of the season.

It’s not that wonderful dry and almost mysterious offering that drops leisurely and in large flakes from the sky onto a city made nearly silent by the snow’s own ethereally muffling qualities.

Instead it’s the wet snow that plummets haphazardly and discordantly, buffeted by unnecessary winds and creating a mess, slop and slosh that lead not to a tranquil hush but to the noisy grinding and churning of angry wheels against the pavement and unwanted splashes that drench unwary pedestrians.

It’s a bad omen, I think.

The first snowfall should be beautiful, a welcome reminder of the new turn, winter, a much-maligned season we all too often forget we are just as happy to see end as the miserable stretch of the calendar known as late summer.

I’m a little worried, just a bit concerned, this morning. I probably shouldn’t be. But it somehow feels wrong, ominous even, and I wish winter had arrived in Philadelphia on a softer note.

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