Stone – The Mind Of Winter

The Mind Of Winter

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow”           from “The Snow Man” by Wallace Stevens

Do you need the mind of winter to see frost
and the boughs of pine-trees crusted with snow?
Maybe. But with so many words for it like:
qanik – snow falling; aputi – snow on the ground;
pukak – crystalline snow on the ground;
aniu – snow used to make water;
maujaq – the snow in which one sinks;
illusaq – snow rigid and maneuverable enough
for erecting an igloo; qanittaq – freshly fallen snow
and sitilluqaaq – a drift of hard snow formed after a storm
not to mention the 93 words in Inuktitut for ice,
I’d say you need the mind of an Eskimo.

 

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