Saturday, January 30, 2010

Remembering Snow

This morning the lawn merges into the street, everything white until the pond that shows, steel-colored, between the neighbors' trees. The sleet has arrived and pecks at the north-facing window. We are not snow-bound, in any sense, but the old poem says itself in memory:
Unwarmed by any sunset light
The gray day darkened into night,
A night made hoary with the swarm
And whirl-dance of the blinding storm,
As zigzag, wavering to and fro,
Crossed and recrossed the wing√ęd snow....
When I lived in the snow-hampered, if not bound, region of Western New York, we took six or eight or ten inches of snow as a given, another routine morning. Our home library, that ranged from Mark Twain to Emerson's Essays to Our Southern Highlanders, included a copy of the pastoral John Greenleaf Whittier poem, a small book bound in a white, pebbly leatherette. I've moved it eight or ten times since, and though I haven't read it through in many years, this may be the morning.

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