Monday, February 1, 2016

February 1: Snow-eater, Kayla, Poet of the Week, Catie Rosemurgy, "Why God Invented the Cold"

What else is going on right this minute while ground water creeps under my feet?  The galaxy is careening in a slow, muffled widening.  If a million solar systems are born every hour, then surely hundreds burst into being as I shift my weight to the other elbow.  The sun's surface is now exploding; other stars implode and vanish, heavy and black, out of sight.  Meteorites are arcing to earth invisibly all day long.  On the planet the winds are blowing:  the polar easterlies, the westerlies, the northeast and southeast trades.  Somewhere, someone under full sail is becalmed, in the horse latitudes, in the doldrums; in the northland, a trapper is maddened, crazed, by the eerie scent of the chinook, the snow-eater, a wind that can melt two feet of snow in a day.  The pampero blows, and the tramontane, and the Boro, sirocco, levanter, mistral.  Lick a finger:  feel the now.

There are reasons why we lick a finger and hold it up:  to feel wind.  To know if it's blowing from east, west, north, south, or some combination.  East by eastwest.  South by northwest.  Or just to test its temperature.  As Dillard writes, the galaxy is spinning, meteorites showering down.  Across the cosmos, stars are collapsing, winking out like bad nightlights.  On our little ball of dirt, the winds are blowing.  Chinook.  Boro.  Sirocco.  The planet is alive.

Winter Storm Kayla is headed my way.  By tomorrow evening, the winds will start howling, and the snow will begin falling.  Well, not falling so much as sheeting.  White planes of snow flapping like clean laundry on a clothesline.  My daughter is hoping for at least a foot of precipitation.  She just announced, "The Snow Day app says there's a 99% chance we won't have school on Wednesday."  I am not thrilled with Kayla, the Snow Day app, or the percentage.  Our local meteorologist just predicted 10-plus inches, Tuesday night through Wednesday.

That is where I am on this eve, this calm before the storm.  And Catie Rosemurgy is the Poet of the Week.  Let's call her Winter Storm Rosemurgy, and she's bringing the cold tonight.

Saint Marty is tired of shoveling.

Why God Invented the Cold

by:  Catie Rosemurgy

To give the people a break
from repositioning their lawn chairs.
To give us a glimpse
of life without bugs.  Without weeping welts,
the odd fever, and yellow smears on our shoes.

To confuse the boys.
To force them to ask, "Why do teenage girls
smoke outside in January until
their nipples get stiff?  Why do they
stand around with their coats undone and life

smacked onto their cheeks?
Am I that promising?"
To caution the men
that the boys will turn into
against following their semi-aroused girlfriends

into May lake water.  Seasonal Affective Disorder.
To break up lonely highways
into manageable chunks.  To make it clear
just how stupid it is to climb
the highest mountain.  To encourage sweet futilities

like cuddling and mittens.  The powerful
sleep lobby.  To give drunks a softer, deeper
alternative to liver failure.  Blue lips
and frosted eyelashes.  Ski pants,
for Christ's sake.  Dark roads, tight sweaters,

no boots, and stalled cars.  Wanna ride,
need a lift?  Country love or homespun
complex legal issues.  His word pressed
firmly against her word.  Zero degrees
and fourteen snowmobilers missing.

Natural selection.  Two feet of fodder
for made-for-TV movies and more expected.
No fiber, calories, vitamins, hallucinogenic
properties or nicotine without the tar.  Just pain
in your membranes, unexpected falls,

sprained ankles, and hyperextended
thumbs.  To see if you can
catch yourself.  To put you down.  You thought
you were mean and hard to figure out until
you found out about windchill.

To give us a way to understand
people who won't give us sex,
meter maids, Siamese cats. what it's like to kiss
your best friend's lover.  To distinguish the sweat of euphoria
from the sweat of shock.  To up the ante.

Because he could.  Because he's lonely and it leaked
out of him.  Because he wants attention
and a fluffy blanket that big enough to cover his toes
and reach his chin.  To create melting.  To give us
another hint that the body is dead.

To add ice.  To let him come as close as he can
to holding some of the glittering water he made.
To let us skate where we couldn't two weeks ago.
To let us glide on top of darkness.
To show us what it means to break through.

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