Christmas 2015, Levi received a snow globe from my parents. The miniature world of white, glittery snow is made up of a little village with a large Christmas tree in the center, and there is a little train that circles the base, traveling underneath a bridge below the houses and trees. It plays “Over the River and Through the Woods….” He loves it, and so I have never packed it away with the Christmas decor. It sits on his dresser year round (something that would typically bug me, but it’s strange the things I’m willing to overlook when it comes to making him happy).
Last night he wanted me to take it down and wind it up, so I did. He watched the train intently, as it made it rounds. At times he would pick the globe up to hold it closer to his face. He was examining the train, looking for its engine and freight cars, he told me. Then he wanted me to name every aspect of the little village scene as he pointed to it: tree, bridge, house, another house, another tree, BIG Christmas tree, and so on. As I stared through the glass past the softly, falling flakes, I could feel my body begin to soften and relax. As I stared at the quaint little houses with windows filled by yellow light, I could imagine tiny people stuffed safely inside, eating dinner, reading a book, putting a baby to bed–untouched by the outside world–in a land of near constant snow fall.
I’ve always loved snow globe scenes–and really anything in miniature: doll houses, shadowboxes, miniature museum scenes, etc. In there everything is as it should be.
My neuroses run big and hard. As a person with anxiety I spend a lot of time in the “fight” reaction of “fight or flight.” I imagine a lot of tigers ready to attack that aren’t really there (or are they…?). My fears and anxiety are frequently of global-scale catastrophe (in particular they are related to running out of clean, usable water on the planet–amongst other smaller, more immediate and localized fears). The environment in the snow globe is controlled, unchanging, and predictable. It’s also not real, of course, so I can make it into whatever I want it to be. And last night, as Levi and I took a tour of every detail in the miniature world, I did just that. Like him, I stared transfixed at the unchanging, painted on perfection, and I was transported. And everything–for a minute or two–was as it should be. And my shoulders melted away from my ears. For a minute. And then the train came to a stop, and the real world presented itself to us in the form of diapers to change and jammies to put on, and we returned the snow globe to its place on the dresser.