Snow in Paradise

By Emma Grace Howlett ‘25

I was reading the dictionary the other day, and beside the word “paradise” was a picture of Pomona College. I saw Marston Quad’s expanse of emerald green lawn, dappled with shade from the white, wizened sycamores. I saw the deep purple irises and countless camelias tended with care by Pomona’s landscapers. I saw the snow-capped peak of Mt Baldy in the distance, set against a sky so blue it shimmered with cerulean intensity. Yes, it really is paradise. But even paradise occasionally experiences the phenomenon known as “weather.”

While most days at Pomona College are pleasantly warm and radiantly sunny, spring semester can sometimes bring cloudy days, and, in the rare instance, rain. I still remember the first time it rained during my time at Pomona. With the metallic scent of petrichor in the air, my friends and I dashed outside to feel the rain on our skin and ended up waltzing on the Quad, singing “Dancing in the Moonlight” until our wet hair clung to our faces and our bare feet turned green with the freshly watered grass.

snow covered mountainThis semester, I could hardly believe it when it suddenly started raining one cloudy day in March. The rain poured from the sky like a heaving sigh, turning the roads into aqueducts where friendly mallards paddled, green heads glistening. The air was crisp, cold enough that for a brief moment, I saw delicate, white flakes drift to the ground. Soon the snowflakes grew in size, growing into intricate fractiles that stuck to my jacket. Students ran out of their dorms to witness the snow. Dining hall workers stepped outside to capture the moment on their phones. With necks craned upward, we shared in the collective wonder of snowflakes falling from the Southern California sky.

view of snow-capped mountains with Pomona building in foregroundThe morning after the clouds finally cleared, the mountains rose like heavenly white ghosts on the horizon. Freshly crowned, their peaks were blanketed with more snow than I had ever seen. My friends from the club soccer team and I went up to Mt Baldy to go for a hike on the snowy slopes of the mountain. Within twenty minutes from campus, we were galavanting through snow that piled ten feet high along the side of the road. With childlike glee, we made snowballs and snow angels, reveling in the excitement of a pristine snowy landscape, fresh and pure and new. Our footsteps postholed deep into the drifts, sinking deliciously into the powder like a skewer into freshly baked bread. I will always cherish the spontaneity and wholesome wonder of that snowy hike, for such high spirits and caring, convivial friends are rare as snow in paradise.