Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Life is like a paper snowflake. No, not really.

I think I've made it abundantly clear that February is not my favorite month. I was getting pretty jazzed that March was almost here (all hail March, month of wild winds and thawing earthworms!) and then, with just two days to go, we get dumped on -- heavy, wet snow, and lots of it. My "oh, how I love the lacy naked trees etched on the gray sky" winter coping mantra isn't cutting it at the moment. It is during these dark days that I turn to one of my wintertime obsessions: paper snowflakes.

I am no artist. But the beauty of the paper snowflake is that you can create something exquisite almost by accident (sorta like procreation, but without the swollen ankles and excruciating labor pains). With my Basic Principles of Snowflakery, you cannot go wrong. Added benefit: snowflake cutting makes you feel mildly productive while indulging in your third episode of Arrested Development.


-- Always fold your square of paper into sixths -- never fourths or eighths.
-- Use small scissors with a sharp point so that you can cut spaces out of the center of your wedge of paper, rather than just the edges.
-- Never, EVER recut your snowflake after opening it. (That's like giving your infant a nose job.)
-- Do pay attention to patterns that turn out well so that you can incorporate them into later snowflakes. (That's like eugenics, I guess, but they're only paper snowflakes, for Pete's sake. Yeesh. Quit taking this so seriously.)
-- Cut lots and lots -- one of them is bound to be accidentally gorgeous. (But of course you'll love them all equally, won't you?)

As an avid (i.e. rabid) snowflaker of several years, I have had many hours to ponder how Life is like cutting a paper snowflake. After awhile, you get a sense of what will probably work, but you never know for sure if you have a winner until you open it. You're not entirely responsible for either your successes or your failures -- it's just too complex for that kind of control. Sometimes the Cosmic Scissors intervene and lend you inspiration. Other times, you're alone, and you have to choose: should you cut yet another *%!?#! snowflake, or plunge those embroidery scissors into your chest and end it all? But you must remember that the darkest moment comes just before the.....

Oh, jeez. Deep breaths. Spring is almost here.


sharonsfriendjen said...

First, Brava! Those snowflakes are beautiful! But I have already admired them, even tried stealing them, but you returned to the room to quickly! :) I am among the bitter snow haters club. Next week, flip flops in protest. If I believe it to be spring, then it will be spring, its all about truthiness. And if are not aware of what truthiness is, watch the Stephen Colbert show! :) Truthiness is: The characteristic of expressing concepts one wishes or believes to be true, despite the facts to the contrary.
Anyway, I loved your blog, especially the part about plunging the embroidery scissors in your chest. So dramatic. End scene.

Marie said...

I am a big fan of Mr. Colbert -- he even coined a new term "Thatchers" in honor of me. I'm a bit embarrassed to say what it means -- if you want to know, type "thatchers colbert" into Google. Needless to say, I'm not surprised that "truthiness" was a bigger hit. More useful, too.

We need to have a snowflake party before winter's over. I'll provide the scissors, paper, and treats, and you provide the jokes.

sharonsfriendjen said...

Count me in! Plus, I found the end of the joke about the rabbi and the squid, can't wait to share it! :)

Belladonna said...

I can relate. Just when I thought Spring was coming for days of daffodils and geocaching it turned off cold and snowy here as well. I'm not nearly so creative as you. I just went to the store and bought bunches of primroses in bright hues to put on my desk at work in baskets to remind myself that new growth and brighter days will yet come.

Joanne said...

Thank you for the snowflake lesson. You sent me a lovely one for Christmas a few years ago. It goes on the tree every year!

Rachel said...

Wow. Did you make the snowflakes in the pictures? You must give me a snowflake making lesson! My mom will often make them as part of her Christmas decorations and hang them in the windows.

Marie said...

Those primroses have been calling to me, too. Especially since the morning glory I was growing as a houseplant croaked this week.

What an honor to have a place on your Christmas tree, Joanne!

Yeah, Rachel -- welcome to my wintertime obsession. Proof that persistence is the key to success, even for stupider goals. But your mom is right on -- snowflakes are a classy Christmas decoration, and you don't feel dumb leaving them up after Christmas, which is one of their great appeals for me. Mine are still up, but I really should take them down. Any day now. I swear.