It snowed along the East Coast of the United States today (October 29, 2011) making it the first time in more than 30 years the white stuff appeared this early outside my Conshohocken, PA, window.
I remember the last time because it was so life-changing, and I wonder if today’s gift from above will have the same affect on me and my world.
I worked as a newspaper reporter as snow fell on Oct 12, 1979, the earliest in recorded history that the Philadelphia area saw such a wonder. It was Columbus Day, the old-fashioned Columbus Day, one on which we celebrated on the 12th of the month no matter what day of the week it fell.
I had fallen out of bed. Rolled over with a nightmare that led me to alter my life up until that moment. I had dreamed of a guru I had followed at an ashram. He appeared in a hot air balloon that kept rising into the sky. It was one of the rare dreams that I have ever dreamt in color. I saw the multi colors of the balloon and the bamboo-like make up of the whicker basket from which this young Indian teacher had waved to me from above.
The balloon went higher and higher until it reached the stratasphere and I knew that I was seeing the last of him. He disappeared from my dream as I crashed to the ground below my bed. I saw snow outside and felt completely altered inside.
It scared the hell out of me. I took the dream and the earliest recorded snow-fall to be a sign from above that was personally made out to me. It told me to correct something in myself. “Correction” might not be the right word. “Transformation” would be better.
The snow was a symbol of purification for me. I felt cleansed and renewed while also somewhat fearful. I wanted to change my life and I did, never to seek answers to life outside of myself but only within.
I grew a beard. For the first time in my 30-year-old life, I let facial hair grow all over. I had grown a mustache while in the Army 10 years earlier, and kept it in remembrance of my father, an Errol Flynn look-a-like.
It felt right to kind of “re-arrange” the furniture in my outward appearance. Two months later, I finally put to bed the bad taste of a divorce. I met my second wife, and what drew her to me was the beard. She supported me when I changed my career to become a union organizer and then a public defender in efforts to help others.
I like to think that original snowstorm had a lot to do with changes I underwent. Or maybe it was the Force from above who really did drop that early snow just for my benefit. “There is none else besides Him,” some say, the perfect weather provider. I wonder what’s in my forecast now?