We were girlfriends waiting for a train. It was Christmas time in the city, night, but not dark. The evening had been magic, walking through snowy festive streets and exploring the Christmas market in Warsaw’s Old Town. We became like walking snowmen, coated with falling snow.
Rather than wait for the train in the underground station, we chose to wait above ground in the fresh air. We stood in a big, untracked space where people had obviously kept to the walkways and left the snow untouched. I discovered it made an easy ball, and instantly I knew what to do while we waited.
I handed my bag to my friend, tied my scarf so it wouldn’t get in my way, and started rolling a ball bigger and bigger. Packed it firmly, rolled it some more, and put more snow around it to stabilize it. In maybe ten minutes I had built a snowman just shorter than me. He was nicely proportioned, and his stance showed that he was happy.
But what do you use for a snowman’s face if there’s no gravel or coal or carrot around? You improvise. On the far side of a building I found a pine tree and broke off some little bits. The bare pieces made eyes and a nose, and a twig made a charming smile. With a little greenery, the snowman got some hair. Curved branches formed his arms reaching toward the sky.
I cannot put into words the satisfaction and delight I found in those quick ten minutes. It was almost like celebrating a sacrament or a revival. A bubbling, rollicking joy in making something out of nothing, delighting in the sparkle of the ball as it rolled and grew, giving the face a personality with its smile, and hoping that it would make strangers smile as they rushed to their train.
I bet the world would change if everyone made a snowman.