Snow Words

I read somewhere that the native languages of Alaska and the far north have hundreds of words for snow.  That may not actually be the case, but it is understandable.  It seems there are so many variations of that white stuff that falls from the sky.  This morning I awoke to fairyland snow, the kind that sticks to each individual leaf, twig and seed, each pine needle in its own jacket of crystals.  It is magical and surely has a word in some language.  I’ve learned about graupel snow, pellets that look like tiny styrofoam balls; dry snow, wet snow, fat flakes and more.  And each may have a unique single word that  describes it.

Searching for that perfect word can become the bane of the productive writer.  In the technique of show it, don’t tell it, it can seem especially important to choose just the right word combination.  The trick is not allowing that search to freeze one in place.  The blank spot can be daunting, my system to overcome lingering too long over a single word or phrase is (the right word goes here) and move on.  It can end up looking funny at first, but  leaving the stuck spot to move on can sometimes jar loose the word that was so elusive.

Maybe that is life lesson that needs to be learned as well.  Leaving the stuck spot to move on, with a place marker if you must, but to move on with life.  The resolution to the stuck spot isn’t always at our fingertips, and paddling further downstream the resolution may surface.  Sometimes though, we never have to return to the spot in question, it fades off so far behind us that we stop looking back and decide that the only resolution required was moving forward.  And sometimes there really isn’t the perfect word or perfect choice or perfect solution.  Sometimes we cobble together something that looks close to what we were hoping for and call it good enough.  With luck a sharp editor or friend can fill in the blank someday.  It may remain a band-aid over a wound or a dropped stitch in the sweater, and that is the best to hope for.  The trick is to keep moving forward and not give in to the temptation to rehash and rewrite when no improvement is forthcoming.


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