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Snow globes. A viral pandemic spreading to practically every corner of the world, claiming countless lives and disrupting the nation’s economy. How do you connect one with the other? 

To this day, I can still envision my mom receiving yet another globe, watching her eyes fill with tears, shaking it wildly, winding it like a precision timepiece to get the music going, and waiting ever so patiently for all the snow to fall. 

I must thank Mom and her wide assortment of snow globes. Her precious pieces of memorabilia are proudly displayed on several shelves of her specially designed curio cabinet. Watching Mom receive a gift, unwrapping what will probably turn out to be yet another snow globe, is sort of like selecting that last piece of candy in the heart-shaped box on Valentine’s Day: you never know what flavor you’ll end up with. 

Most played a catchy music box tune I couldn’t quite figure out, but the twinkling melody of upbeat notes sounded pleasing nonetheless. The ornate exterior with a splash of bright colors was just as picturesque as the inside, usually depicting a place visited on someone’s vacation or a magical and mystical fairy tale scene. Of course, once you shook it up a zillion pieces of “something” floated haphazardly around, falling in a dance-like trance to the tune you wound up. If you got really fancy, you could buy a battery-operated model with all the lights, bells, and whistles. But where’s the fun in that? Give me the ol’ fashioned wind-ups to get Mom smiling. 

The music doesn’t play forever, though. Soon, what may have sounded like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” stops, the faux snow lies dormant on the ground, and the Hansel- and Gretel-like village goes back to normal. 

Life is a little like Mom’s snow globes. The pandemic has caused the world to be shaken up and turned upside-down. The song, akin to our future, has yet to be figured out. The scattered snow not yet settled on the ground represents all the pieces of uncertainty this crisis has created in our lives and within the lives of those around us, clouding our vision from hope. 

We question if we’ll be able to feed our families or if we’ll have a job tomorrow, all with doubt raining down around us. We’re left feeling trapped in a place we can’t seem to free ourselves from. 

Yet, in time, you snap your fingers because you suddenly recognize the song being played. The snow settles. The scene from whence we started shifts back into focus. Our neat little world is made whole once more. With a little patience, things will become clear again. 

Feeling curious, I decided to look back on some pictures from last Christmas. One photo is of Mom. Another is of Dad, dressed in his cherry tomato red t-shirt, emblazoned with Rudolph’s head on the front. They are each standing beside Mom’s Christmas table. Just over each of their shoulders stood Mom’s cabinet, a sentinel towering over my loved ones, housing shelf after shelf of snow globes. 

I guess Mom is right, yet again. Everything will be okay. Just have patience and give things time to settle. 

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Gervasio "Julio" Torres Jr. is a member of Exchange for Change’s Leadership Council, creator and co-facilitator for the “Just Write” writing class for colleagues, an active member of the Draft Picks Gavel Club, and a copy editor/senior writer for a monthly newsletter. He is incarcerated in Florida.