Saturday, April 17, 2010

Words From A Mind That Finally Thawed

Female cardinal braving the snow... January 2010
(Click to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"Antisthenes says that in a certain faraway land the cold is so intense that words freeze as soon as they are uttered, and after some time then thaw and become audible, so that words spoken in winter go unheard until the next summer."
~ Plutarch, Moralia

Who knew?

It doesn’t snow much, in this place where we live.
We are too close to the ocean
With air warmed just enough by the Gulf Stream
To melt the delicate flakes before they reach the ground,
Most winters.
But, not this winter.
This winter it snowed.
Not the usual few flakes here and there for twenty minutes or so.
No, it was an all night, all day affair with blinding and sometimes blowing snow.
Heavy large flakes and tiny microscopic flakes, with bits of tiny-ice-pellets-that-sting-your-face thrown in for good measure.
It was a remarkable snow for this place.
A snow that didn’t melt in two hours or even five days.
I watched it that first night through my window.
The blowing flakes whirling and dancing, then frantically racing toward the ground...
Lit to a glow by the streetlight.
Ten inches... not much by upstate New York standards,
A blizzard to coastal southern Virginia residents.
The child in me said... “It is good.”

It snowed here again, in this place where we live,
Just ten days ago;
Not the white cold wet snow, no... it was yellow and dry.
Not ten inches deep, but it might as well have been.
It coated everything: plant leaves, hot tub covers, cars, anything left outside.
One night it was not there and the next morning everything was yellow...
Even the black hot tub cover was that nasty sort of green you get when you mix black with yellow.
I had just cleaned out the hot tub.
Anything touched left yellow debris on hands and clothes.
It snowed this yellow pollen for four days.
I watched the security camera feed from my bed one of these nights.
A spider has built his web in front of the camera and I see him spinning and spinning
Looking larger as he comes close to the camera and getting smaller as he walks away.
I think I see small flying insects floating by his web,
Surely, some will be snared by the sticky stuff and yet,
The tiny bits just fly by ...... and then I know.
This is not a swarm of gnats..... this is snow.
This is that yellow, nasty pollen snow!

Today it snowed again.
Not the fluffy, white, cold, wet stuff
Nor the nasty, yellow, powdery stuff that makes so many eyes water and noses run.
This was a snowstorm of little whirling helicopters and brown squiggly worms.
They coated the deck and the freshly swept patio
And in that corner or the patio where the wind seems to swirl all things into a twirling frenzy
They danced, spinning round and round and finally landing in a pile by the steps.
They shower the cars driving across the draw bridge.
They cling to the sisal door mats like velcro pieces and cannot be moved.
The brown worms are just a nuisance.
The tiny helicopters search for soft moist dark earth to land.
Some make it and on a warm sunny day in summer
A tiny maple tree sprouts.

This won’t be our last snow.
Soon the white fluffy summer snow of cottonwood and cattails will begin.
Later, in October, there will be a snow of red and gold as the autumn leaves float by.
That snow will be punctuated by a blanket of pine needles.
Then, winter will again come to this place where it is usually too warm to snow and
Who knows?
Who knew?

~ srp (April 17, 2010)

(end of post)


Beverly said...

A beautiful photo and you certainly are perfect with your words.  The pollen must be bad everywhere.  I am oblivious to it since it doesn't affect me at all.  I know some people suffer so terribly.  We were in Virginia for a wedding when the first snow storm came through.  Sarah and I were grateful that it wasn't any worse than it was and that the wedding wasn't over in Waynesboro.   When David got home, he had 2 feet of snow in his yard.

Denise said...

A lovely post and a very beautiful photograph.  This winter we saw several heavy snow falls in Virginia.  It was beautiful that first time it snowed, really magical.

kenju said...

Who knew, indeed, that you were a poet? I sure didn't. That is a wonderful piece of writing!

Simply Col said...

The winter past (love to say that) was very different indeed.   Never in my memory can I remember one so mild and with so little snow here in the Canadian prairies.   Our spring now is truly early and even the tree buds are starting to unfold.  Very strange year indeed.  One never knows.. so true so true.

Carletta said...

What a great snowy shot!
I've loved watching the cardinals winter and spring.