On a snowy day (or, just another material)

It was a beautiful sunny day out. Right after yesterday’s big blizzard, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, the light was beautiful. I get only the nice parts of snow - I am lucky I don’t have to shovel out a car or a sidewalk and don’t need to commute on a Sunday - so I got to go on my usual run.

It's always nice to be out in the park. The dog walkers and my fellow runners are pretty friendly any day of the week, but today there was a special buzz in Park Slope: the buzz of play and joy. People of all ages played under the warm sun. There was sledding, and snow fighting, snow angels and play. Dogs rolled on their backs - after all, people were doing the same! - and even folks just walking by had a smile on their face.

Snow is an art material like any other, and it's nice to be given a chance to play with it. I saw kids exploring how snow tastes, licking chilly clear "popsicles"; taking snow home to stick in the freezer to play with later; practicing balance and construction by making elaborate snowpeople, decorated accorded to their creators' visions.

I played with the snow as I ran, breaking my stride to reach a particularly shiny spot or throw myself in a mountain of fluffy white cold smoothness. And I thought, again: this is just another material.

Just like the fancy-sounding Augmented Reality I’ve been studying this week. It’s really not about the fanciness - it’s about tasting that icicle, figuring out how to stack snow to give shape to an idea, discovering that its fluffiness is actually pretty hard. It's about finding ways to create and narrate the stories through which we make sense of the world.

That’s what I did in “Story not gadget,” my last publication of 2015. Before you throw your next snow ball, please play with it and share your thoughts.