It was just about this time of year during my freshman year of college—after the worst ear infection of my life, with my left eardrum still adding a kazoo-like sound to everything I heard, after Thanksgiving but before finals—that I started making paper snowflakes.
Hello winter. You are lovely and magical and cold. I am tired and stressed and the best thing I can think of to do with my world right now is to pour some extra beauty over it because it is otherwise rather hard. Sort of the way you’ve coated everything with glittering fresh snow. Underneath you are pretty grimy.
I cut out a lot of snowflakes. From plain white paper, as intricately as possible. I learned to cut big holes rather than little snips, and to let the lines swoop and dive across the paper. I worked when I took breaks from reading or studying, and my hand ached from cutting before I was done. By the end of finals week there were quite a few snowflakes hanging from my dorm room ceiling. My grades didn’t seem to suffer, and I think the project actually helped me get through that first semester. And I loved being in a room dripping with paper snow.
Very often, this time of year, you can find me making things.
This season—paper cranes. Made in odd moments. I have specific plans for them, so I tell myself what I’m doing is practical. Extremely practical. Mixed in with healthy doses of avoidance and coping. It is unbelievably soothing to have your hands moving, and to see something taking shape beneath them. To lose yourself in motion and color and pattern. To allow your mind to think and process freely, far beyond the neat folds and bright bits of paper you are working with.
Hello winter. You are lovely and magical and cold—except right now you are rather warm and drab. I'm waiting. I long for your snow.
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