We went on a trip through niveous countrysides and cityscapes. The three pictures above are the views from our three successive hotel rooms on the mornings of our checkouts. The land is covered with snow, smooth and white as Nivea, frothy as Evian, delicate and naïve, ovine in its fluffiness.

In our peregrinations we passed white churches and picnic tables.

We skied niveous riparian plains with veinous trees and red paint.

We walked streets nixed with flakes, past trees spruced with invasive lights.

Envious of our niveous souvenirs? Snow is pretty but problematic. You can march with boots or glide with skis, but if you are consigned to driving from point to point you may be disappointed by the slowness of the snowiness. Beauty may be paralyzing, and if you think snow is baleful, allow me to introduce you sometime to the ice storm, a singularly lethal beauty. Weather is the hand you are dealt, and you play it as you may and must.

Words, too, are dealt to you. You have more of them in your hand than you probably remember, and more ways to play them than you probably think the rules allow.

The word for now is niveous. It means ‘snowy’ but without the Tintin reference but with various other overtones and a vibe at its heart. It comes from Latin, of course: niveus, an adjectiving using the combining form niv- referring to snow. The nominative form of the noun for ‘snow’ in Latin is nix. Which may not sound very soft (except inasmuch as it reminds us of Stevie) but reminds us of the obliterating effect of a snowfall, nixing the picture. Cecidit nix: snow has fallen, snow has snowed, neige a neigé. And all is as gnomic as a sphinx, buffered with billions of flakes, each unique and evanescent. A presence that makes an absence, but a textured, soft one.

For the time being. Until it breaks and melts and mixes with dirt. Well, never mind. There will always be more.

3 responses to “niveous

  1. Great word, niveous. Thank you

  2. Great shot from the Chateau Laurier! What a view.

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