When they stepped outside together, the snow was already more than six inches high and rising. A beautiful night, the streets in every direction impassable to traffic. Hardly anything moved save for the occasional snow plow on the avenue, bus engines whirring, strained, somewhere in the distance, little else. To the west, over the rooftops, through the immense, agitated hive of falling snow, a kind of violet light puzzled them...
This snowy scene is the first in the book. It's a beautiful, Norman Rockwellish moment, straight out of an Irving Berlin song. A little later in the above paragraph, a group of kids show up, having a snowball fight. It's one child with leukemia away from a Hallmark Hall of Fame TV special.
It rained today in my hometown. Then it snowed. A lot. I was 20 miles away, and those 20 miles, in the Upper Peninsula, are like the difference between Aruba and Anchorage. In the town where I work and teach, there were puddles and slush at the end of the day. When I got home this evening, there were several inches of wet, heavy snow in my driveway. The kind of snow that causes heart attacks. Not the kind of snow that makes you dream of hearing sleigh bells with every Christmas card you write.
I spent almost 40 minutes shoveling, pushing, and stacking cold, wet, heavy precipitation. It was like moving cement. I swore, grunted, muttered. At one point--as I was saying (loudly) "I hate snow! I hate winter!"--somebody walked by, staring at me. I didn't care. I was d-o-n-e.
By the time I finally got inside, I was drenched in sweat and in a foul mood. Now, after about an hour, I have calmed down. A little. I love Christmas. Love Christmas stories and Christmas decorations. One of my favorite Christmas carols is "White Christmas." I've written an essay about that song. When I was a kid, I prayed for snow storms. Snow days were like gifts from God.
Now, I don't get snow days. A snow storm means that I have to get up an hour early, to shovel my driveway. It means treacherous driving. It means back aches and cars in the ditch. I have turned into an old man when it comes to snow. I might as well hike my pants up to my armpits and start saying things like "Dag blammit!"
I am going to end this post with another Peter Thabit Jones' poem about Big Sur. Something full of sun and summer.
Saint Marty isn't ready for winter, dag blammit.
by: Peter Thabit Jones
Big Sur smokes in a mist,
The ocean has gone
For a few strange hours,
Until the ancient shroud
Drift, magically lifts,
And the bay glistens
And boils in the sun.
(Sorry--no cartoon tonight. Blogger is not cooperating. Please lodge any complaints with the staff of Blogger. Dag blammit.)