Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Fish's Sense of Snow

A couple of years ago, there was a book entitled Smilla's Sense of Snow, an absolutely incredible thinking-person's thriller about a spinster in Iceland who gets involved in a mystery involving a young neighbor boy and a dead body. It was later made into a movie which I avoided like one avoids the line at the grocery store attended by the kid with the runny nose. If I love a book, I make a point of avoiding the movie; they just rarely pass muster when they take what you've imagined and throw it up on the screen. I know it's a cliche, but it's a cliche that's true.

Anyway, I was reminded of this book on my drive in to work this morning. I left in the tiny hours of the morning, and there was nobody on the road except me. One of the observations Smilla is constantly making is the type of snow that is falling; in Iceland they have a different word for every type of snow that falls, based on what it looks like and how it behaves. Thus, the word for super-heavy-water-laden snow is different than the word for snow that gets that crunchy frozen crust on it. This morning's snow fell in tiny little crystals, and as I drove on it, my headlights hit the individual crystals and reflected them back to me in tiny glints. I'm not sure what Smilla would call it, but I called it beautiful.

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