Monday, January 23, 2023

January 23: "The Storm," Snow Puppy, Everything Wondrous

Mary Oliver's dog enjoys a romp in the snow . . . 

The Storm

by:  Mary Oliver

Now through the white orchard my little dog
     romps, breaking the new snow
     with wild feet.
Running here running there, excited,
     hardly able to stop, he leaps, he spins
until the white snow is written upon
     in large, exuberant letters,
a long sentence, expressing
     the pleasures of the body in this world.

Oh, I could not have said it better

There's not much to add to the word picture that Mary Oliver paints here.  Her dog simply triggered with the joy of new snowfall.  Writing a poem with her body.  

I live with a snow puppy myself.  She loves romping through deep drifts.  Rooting with her snout for hidden treasures.  Seeing a blank sheet of cold white and writing herself all over it.  If only we could all indulge in the pleasures of the natural world with that much abandon and ecstasy.  

I remember as a child how much I loved snowstorms.  First, there was the anticipation of an unexpected day off from school.  Then there was the pleasure of snow people and snow forts and snowball fights.  Sledding and tobogganing.  Thawing out with hot chocolate.  Yes, this description is all very Norman Rockwell-esque, I know.  But that's the way it truly was when I was a kid.

Nowadays, I don't experience the same kind of puppy joy when snow starts falling.  Instead, winter weather forecasts bring me anxiety and exhaustion.  Snow means shoveling and driving through whiteouts to get to work.  A months-long battle with city plows and snow removal.  Adulthood simply robs winter of everything wondrous.

Yet, there is my puppy to remind me of bygone winter days.  For those few minutes when I take her outside after new snow has fallen, I feel that old excitement.  As she disappears into fresh powder, I recall seeing that first snow come tumbling out of the heavens every October or early November when I was in middle and high school.  How it filled with me with a kind of hope.  The world was shifting.  Changing.  The colors of autumn erased in a few flurry-ous minutes.  It really was like watching a painting being painted or a poem being poemed.  

I'm sitting on the couch right now, where I've been since COVID came to visit me again.  For the first time in a long while, I'm feeling almost human (minus the hacking cough that just won't subside).  There's snow falling outside my living room window, and it's beautiful.  My puppy is stretched out on the floor after a few minutes of running here running there in the backyard.

That's Saint Marty's poem tonight, written exuberant letters of snow and fur and hope.

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