L’as du falafel: Winter’s well-layered bone

The snow falls and falls. It never ends, never stops falling, never ceases to accumulate. Perhaps we will never emerge from this snowy trance; we will subside forever in this slow, lethargic, bone-chilling existence until the end of all eternity — until we cannot remember what it was like to leave the house without the cumbersome drudgery of forging a path through thigh-high resistance, or the sensation of being warm in your body.

If it were not for the trucks arriving to haul off the snow to some unknown location, some Erebus, it would soon be deep enough to cover even the tallest man on earth standing on his feet: we would all become lost within this white and silent realm, like mermaids whose songs are consumed by the ocean’s murky depths before they can ever reach caring ears on distant shores.

But perhaps spring will come. And this will become a winter that once happened and was fruitful with snow, which at the time felt as though it would never be over. February has just begun and I think the season will stay a little bit longer; after all, we have only just reached winter’s navel and have no right to shoo her out just yet.

While it remains, I will enjoy the snow sometimes: when I explore the igloo that some generous sophomores in Branford built in the Linonia Courtyard, or when I think of sledding up by the Divinity School, or when I wake up to a world that is whiter, cleaner, newer — a fresh start from the one that I fell asleep to.

Mostly I am just concerned with staying warm and this takes precedence over a great many other considerations. When I leave my room, I do so as a warm-blooded being who is much aware of the dangers of my frosty surroundings. Before I sleep, I place my socks on the heater so that there will be something toasty awaiting my feet the next day; by now, my boots are all soggy, but I try to rotate them so that I wear the pair that is driest each time I step out.

When in the past I might have been interested in those “Stay Chic in the Cold” editorials, they hardly seem relevant now. I’d rather read: “Stay Endlessly Warm (and Perhaps Look Presentable).”

My thoughts lie far away from breezy white summer dresses and elegant ballerina slippers. They lie submerged within a heavy and hooded anorak, hopefully one that is large enough to cover me until this chill has passed.

I don’t know if anyone can master a “look” that is comfortable in these conditions; I can’t imagine any sort of an aesthetic triumph without forfeiting warmth and safety.

But what I will say in favor of fashion this season is that clothing provides a great vehicle for friendly trade.

“Winter garments are made for exchanging,” a friend of mine remarked last weekend after we swapped his neck-warmer for my hat.

I’ve inherited a wonderful alpaca hat (for the time); one friend is in possession of my thick Hello Kitty socks and Zurich sweatshirt. My suite is host to a visiting pair of snow pants that were left here after an afternoon of tobogganing.

But despite my new access to this communal wardrobe, warmth still trumps style.

I gladly commend anyone who manages to appear at all put together during these times, but I will admit that I look quite silly in my rain boots, layering a fluffy jacket over track pants over long underwear. And, ultimately, I cannot say that this look comes as too great of a sacrifice for me: I can wait until the trees on Old Campus are once again thick with foliage to revisit my own vanity.

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