A Toast to Snow

Performed at Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens’ ecosexual White Wedding to Snow (Love Art Labs. 26th March, 2011, Ottawa). 


Greetings Ladies, Gentlemen … Snowflakes.

My name is Angeline and like everyone else here, Beth, Annie, everyone who took the vows, I am the proud partner of Snow. Wasn’t that a lovely ceremony?

I’m new here so I don’t have that many friends yet, but when you’re in Ottawa, Snow becomes your personal friend. So before I offer the toast, I would like to tell you about my personal relationship with Snow. This is the story of our first meeting.


Snow is a personal friend when you’re in Ottawa. (Photo credit: Benoit Aubry)



The first three decades of my life, I only knew about Snow from the children’s books I had read; from the beautifully painted pictures on Season’s Greetings cards; from the pretend Snow family that my mother and I made using crumpled newspapers, garbage bags and cotton wool; and then there’s my favourite faux snow activity, making snowfalls with icing sugar on Christmas logs.

I thought that Snow was lovely. Clean. Pristine. Sweet even. Snow white.

You can tell that for the longest time, I had the most unrealistic expectations of Snow.

When we finally met IRL, In Real Life, it was in November of 2008. There was a nice and pleasant snowfall, so I went out to properly introduce myself to Snow. “Hello,” I said. And Snow replied, “Crunch. Crunch”.

And we did that for awhile. Snow and I. I would say, “hello” and take a step forward, slowly, carefully. And no matter what I did, Snow would answer, “Crunch. Crunch” in a very crisp manner.





Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch…


It was night time and it was quiet; classic Snow response. We make a lot of noise, we humans, but add a bit of Snow to the mix and things slow down. All the sounds we make, the TV, the hum of the power stations, Snow turns on the mute button. All our sins, our cars, our garbage, Snow throws a blanket over it. With Snow around, the air smells so much less.


Snow throws a lovely and thick blanket over our compost heap.


I always love sharing a walk with fresh Snow. Life is so much simpler and beautiful. A life much less complicated. Almost like those painted Christmas cards I used to admire as a child.

Mid-Winter, Snow started taking things seriously. Bang, one night there was 30 cm of snow. Fantastic. I put on my new Skidoo boots and take off. And there I was, sinking, it would seem, all the way into the snow. I’d take another step, and I was sinking again. But I was still on the surface! It’s like walking on water! It IS walking on water.

As winter progressed, I find out more about Snow. Petulant snow is wet and dry at the same time and it makes your boots squeak. Just like chalk on blackboard.

Snow in a good mood makes a crisp and crunchy sound,  just like the first night we met.

Sometimes Snow is playful, and then we get this nice and powdery ski-snow, just lovely for throwing ourselves off the side of hills.

Snow can be naughty too. Sticky. Wet. Perfect for a nice splat of snowball rolling down your back.


Who’s naughty now, eh? (Photo credit: Benoit Aubry)


Once I learned all about Snow’s various habits, I got really interested in what makes Snow tick. Snowflakes.

So, for a few days, maybe an hour at a time, my neighbours would see me outside at minus 14 degrees Celcius, with a simple digital compact camera and a jeweller’s lens, staring, it would seem, in great detail at our blue bins outside on the porch. But I was checking out the snowflakes.


All dressed with somewhere to go. (Photo credit: Benoit Aubry)



Something interesting fell on our blue bins. (Photo credit: Benoit Aubry)



Snowflake voyeurism. (Photo credit: Benoit Aubry)




Worth waiting for.


Snowflake or two

A snowflake or two.
And I find out other things about Snow. The dirty little secrets of Snow. Snow can be a vicious Ice Queen at times. Sharp, evil icicles showing up in places, waiting to fall on your head and crack it open. And when Snow decides to melt a little, you get a nice mirror either to skate or fall over on. The Icecapades. Including comedy. Depending on how graceful you are.


Icicle icepick! 


So, when I was younger, my version of snow was Christmassy, mostly delicious and clean. But I’ve grown up a lot since then. Snow hardly ever shows up when you want it to. Sometimes Snow comes early, and sometimes Snow comes late. Snow shows up when you’ve got an important meeting all planned and your snow tires are in storage. Or when you’ve got a lovely event all planned, like a white wedding… Snow takes a hike.

And when leaving the scene, Snow does so with great drama. Floods and floods of tears. The end of snowbanks. The end of fears of falling over your own feet on black ice. The end of messy yellow snow. The end of chunks of unidentifiable brown somethings. But also, it is the beginning of something else. I call it, the Appreciation of Spring.


The Depreciation of Snow and the Appreciation of Spring. 


I used to think that Snow was lovely. Clean. Pristine. Sweet even. Snow white. Now, I know that all this is true. And so much more. Snow makes ugly human things prettier. Snow makes our culture much prettier. Snow makes the science of crystals prettier. When Snow cries, we get sustenance. Snow makes it easy to fall in love, to hold hands, to walk on water, to kiss a snowflake, to love another.

So, a toast to Snow, our beloved Snowflake, water of our life. Here’s to many years of Bliss and many more full of Love. Cheers!


Silver year. Union, bliss, crown. Snow.