Somewhere in Japan

Dispatch № 106: Snow Bridge

The smell of snow has an inverse dimension to it, much like the sonic void that hums in your ears after a loud, prolonged noise suddenly ceases. The smell is also its taste, which I had forgotten. It came back to me suddenly from long before, delivered over the long wires of memory, when I remembered a moment snowshoeing in fresh, deep powder in a forest so quiet you could hear the collective whisper of snowflakes landing all around.

A heavy woolen mitten, encrusted with small beads of ice, carrying a loose handful of snow to my mouth to melt on my tongue and crunch strangely before melting back into ordinary water. And the taste of it, just like its smell, was as much absent as present, in a balancing act of being its own contradiction.

It’s more than ten thousand kilometers between Saitama City and where I lived in Ohio. And that memory was from a part of my life now far enough removed that it barely seems connected to my present. Instead, it belongs to a rail-thin teenager who isn’t sure what he wants to do in life, only that he loves writing, photography, natural science, and girls.

Decades have since passed, and I have settled in a different part of the world. Those interests remain largely the same, however, and the smell of snow, rarely encountered in this place, now acts as a bridge between present and past, between the man I am and the boy I once was.

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Picture of David R Munson

David R Munson

Photographer, essayist, wanderer, weirdo. Everything is interesting if you give it an honest chance to be.

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