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  • Writer's pictureMj Pettengill

Snow for an Angel

Updated: Feb 24, 2020

I admired the courage of the wayward girl, the one who left snow angels in our winter garden. After each storm, I tended to them, carefully recreating them. I liked that they were there and that with each revision, they became more imperfect. It was as if they were my secret friends in this new, dreary place. I hoped to feel more cheerful in the spring, but until then, the angels would do. Mother thought it silly and worried about me catching a cold, but I had to do something out of the ordinary, or I would have curled up and died. ~Bess Adams, February 15, 1873 - The Angels' Lament ~


For those of you who have read or are reading the Etched in Granite Historical Fiction Series, you will be aware of the snow angels. They certainly have a place in the narrative.

There is symbolism all around us. When I was a young girl, every winter after the first snowfall, I created at least one snow angel. Of course, there had to be a sufficient amount of snow. What good was it if you were rolling around on the frozen earth, or worse in the muck? That would have likely resulted in a "fallen" snow angel rather than one of the highest degree.

After assessing the elements, I would decide if the conditions were appropriate and go from there. I remember when I was nine-years-old, it became a bit of superstition. If there was the right amount of snow and I didn't make a snow angel, perhaps something dreadful would happen.

I made snow angels into adulthood. It was more of a fun and sisterhood event in college. As a mother, it was about love, and art — a folklore activity woven into the mysteries of previous generations and traditions. I'm the kind of mother who (if possible) provided or crafted stories for everything. This served us well.

It was only recently when I released the superstition. For a decade, I went to a warm, sunny writer's loft on the Gulf of Mexico. Before leaving my home in the mountains of New Hampshire, it was a part of my ritual to leave behind a snow angel. Of course, if there was no snow on the ground, there was nothing to consider.

I remember a few times when I was all packed up and ready to go, I realized that I had not left a snow angel in the earth. I would quickly run out to the yard, plop down, and create her.

I do not spend entire winters in a warm, seaside loft. I have been deep in the woods in the mountains in the wilds of New Hampshire. This year, the snow is several feet deep. I just realized I have yet to make a snow angel. Mj Pettengill, Author Etched in Granite Historical Fiction Series (1) The Angels' Lament (2)

Book Three, Coming Soon (3)

Image: MaxPixel

1 Comment

Mar 06, 2019

To be faced with a " canvas" of white and to have the imagination and self awareness to leave ones own mark is an act of an artist . It is answer to those that do not believe in

" angels" , for the impression is there for all to see, before the thaw.

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