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"One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,
Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is."
~ The Snow Man, Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)
For many in the northern hemisphere, January is the snowiest and coldest month of the year. The cold makes for hard and harsh times, but if there is a frosty day of respite with some sunshine, snow shadows can be seen in fresh snow which are perceived as beautiful shades of blue! And sometimes, the new arrival of fast-falling snow can arrive with a pinkish glow as low snow clouds reflect scattered light off snowflakes in the red or pink end of the spectrum. Actual patches of pigmented pink snow can also sometimes be found, created from snowflakes containing a red-hued algae! When snow conditions are just right, making a snowman is almost irresistible. Snowman-making has been documented as far back as the Middle Ages. And even Italian artist Michelangelo was commissioned by Piero de' Medici to lend his considerable talent to make a special snowman in 1494! Should you be feeling artistic once the bitter winter winds subside and the snow is ready for rolling and packing, be sure to accessorize your snowman with sticks, acorns, rocks, and even the odd carrot. But for a really fashionable snowman, lend your tartan scarf. ❄️ ☃️
Not all snowmen are friendly and handmade! The Yeti, the Abominable Snowman, and Bigfoot are all known to visit snowy climes.
From Mental Floss:
The Yeti is the oldest legend of the bunch. Lore of a man-like beast in the Himalayas has its roots in pre-Buddhist religion. The Lepcha people recognized a supernatural "Glacier Being" as one of their hunting gods and the ruler of all the forest's creatures. It wasn't until later that an early version of the term "Yeti" emerged. Most experts believe it derives from a Sherpa word, possibly yeh-teh meaning "small, man-like animal" or meti meaning "bear." The Yeti starred as the antagonist of many cautionary folk tales shared by the Sherpa people. In their legends, the creature was depicted as an apelike man who left large tracks in the snow.
The phrase Abominable Snowman appeared relatively recently, and was born out of a messy mistranslation. In 1921, a contributor to an Indian English-language newspaper interviewed explorers returning from the British Mount Everest Reconnaissance Expedition. They spoke of seeing large footprints on the mountain their guides attributed to Metoh-Kangmi. Kangmi translates to "Snowman" and Metoh to "Man-Bear"— the writer got the last half of that equation right but misinterpreted metoh as "filthy." Instead of writing "Filthy Snowman" he decided he liked the sound of "Abominable" better and the nickname stuck.
Bigfoot is thought to be native to North America, specifically the Pacific Northwest. Tales of ape-like wild men inhabiting that region can be traced back to indigenous communities—"Sasquatch" is derived from sésquac, a Halkomelem word meaning "wild man"—but the name "Bigfoot" is a 20th century original invention.
Best to stick with the handmade variety during the snowy season if possible.
For more interesting facts about friendly snowmen, click the snowy scene!