Snowy realms are inspiring to us. They present two things we really love: environment and possibility.
In the movie Elf Buddy says, "I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly-twirly gum drops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel."
Does this journey sound familiar? The trek is part of the path in the game Candy Land, with the Lincoln Tunnel aside, along the snowy corridor found on the right-hand side of the board. For untold generations, snowy worlds, creative imagination, and the holidays are totally best buds.
So wherever you are spending this winter season, this is my gift: sharing some of my favorite snowy worlds. If you're buried in Buffalo or languishing in Laos, I want to toss you a snowball packed with imagination, winter wonderlands, and maybe some ice to keep things interesting. Whatup, Calvin.
The White Witch's palace courtyard. Disney Films, 2005.
In the first book of The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, the children encounter the land of Narnia under the spell of Jadis the White Witch. Narnia is obviously a world of magic in this tale, but the limits of its magic are suppressed by Jadis' rule and cast under a blanket of snow as part of her curse upon the land.
This snow-covered Narnia is a dangerous and, obviously, cold place. Only within burrows and other dwellings do the safest scenes in the book occur. This is in juxtaposition to the terrifying open environments of Narnia where Jadis’ agents are always ready to swoop in and take one off to be turned to icy stone in the witch's terrible palace courtyard.
For most readers, this snowy Narnia is an image that is hard to shake as the further books unfurl and Narnia becomes a land of open waterways and green rolling hills and forested expanses. For a holiday tie-in, readers may recall that Father Christmas has been banished by Jadis in this volume of the series. He eventually shows up with presents that are definitely not safe for children, but they inspire imagination nevertheless.
The Savage Land. Marvel Comics.
The premise is that in Antarctica, millennia ago, space aliens created a habitat to observe all of Earth’s life. They populated it with dinosaurs, saber tooth tigers and our earliest genetic ancestors and then, sometime during the last ice age, the aliens got bored and left the place to follow its own evolutionary path.
After the aliens left, The Savage Land continued to develop until it was discovered by the modern world. The X-men, the Avengers, and Spider-Man are frequent guests to this little slice of all known Earthly life. Marvel’s version of Tarzan also lives there. His name is Ka-zar and he’s got a loyal saber tooth tiger named Zabu.
The Savage Land is far from a frozen wasteland as it contains all the environments that its many occupants were familiar with before being placed there. Predominantly tropical, The Savage Land also has tundras, deserts, grasslands, mountainous regions and more. Marvel’s infinitely customizable habitat is a place where heroes can box a T-Rex, build snowmen at the feet of Mastodons and, every so often, foil a villainous plan.
Another thing that sets The Savage Land apart from other hidden antarctic fantasy locations is that it's not a secret in the Marvel Universe. Everyone knows about it just as they know about superheroes, anthropomorphic ducks, and space aliens that eat planets for lunch.
Calvin and Hobbes. By Bill Watterson. Andrews McMeel Publishing.
Sure, I made the title of this one up but you probably know this is about Calvin and Hobbes' beautiful, mysterious, and creative world of winter. You’ve likely already envisioned your favorite snowmen from these memorable cartoon panels or Calvin and Hobbes airborne on a sled while simultaneously weighed down by one of their philosophical conundrums.
A wonderful thing about this world is that its annual appearance coincided with winter itself. Calvin put on his snow boots for the first time each winter season as real children across the country were lacing up theirs. This made the exploits undeniably vivid. When snow fell in our lives, Calvin went sledding, stocked up on snowballs for his continuous and losing battle against Susie, and made snow angels. This dailiness made him a wintertime companion.
Note that so many of Calvin’s winter exploits do not feature Hobbes. Hobbes is the natural extension of Calvin’s creativity and curiosity in the form of an imaginary friend. In the winter panels of the outside world, the environment itself serves as Calvin’s constant winter pal. He uses snow like a sculptor uses clay. Calvin makes from his wintery surroundings a Bosch-like landscape of cannibalistic, offbeat, and flash-mobbing snowmen aptly referred to as Snow Goons.
These are just a few of my favorite winter worlds. No doubt I missed some of your own favorites. Hopefully I'll have the chance to explore them with you next holiday season. For now, if you're looking for a world to explore in Santa Fe, why not bring the family to our House?Meow Wolf is open through the holidays. We're only closed on Christmas Day, but in order to fit any schedule, we've also included additional days that we'll be open. So take a look at our Holiday Hours and makes plans to share our world with someone you love.