Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Heavy snows last night. Shivering at the porch window on this black morning, I can see wisps of fine ice glittering down through the circle of lamplight. I can't tell yet how much has fallen--six, eight, ten inches? Enough to cancel school. I open the door to let the animals out and in and out and in, and hear only the hiss of flakes, a faint scratch of wind.

* * *

I have been writing that paragraph, those five sentences, for half an hour now; and the five final words--"a faint scratch of wind"--are the only ones worth saving. The rest of the paragraph doesn't much matter.

* * *

The floor upstairs creaks as Tom paces from bed to dresser, pulling himself together to go to work. On the rug beside the woodstove, the dog is curled up like a caterpillar. In a chair by the hearth, the cat lolls on a yellow cushion. I hear a town plow scraping down the road, heading north toward Wellington.

* * *

I am sitting here writing to you. Meanwhile, Tom is trudging through drifts, clearing snow, loading his truck, beginning the long, slow slog to his workday. The contrast between our tasks is unfair; cruel, even. I continue to sit here writing to you.

* * *

Light has spread across the low sky, and the breeze is stronger now. Around the clearing, the firs twitch under a clumsy weight of white. Flakes gust from their splayed branches. "Splayed" is the wrong word for what I mean to say. I want to describe the gestures of an aging hand . . . plaintive, resigned.

* * *

All this time spent writing, and I still haven't arranged any words more precise than "a faint scratch of wind." Tom's pictures say it better.


Carlene said...

I like the juxtaposition of the scratch of wind and the scrape of plow.
And all I can think of is Frost's "Storm Fear"...we got about an inch or two of snow, enough to be slickery and inconvenient, but not enough to qualify.

Stay warm.

Ruth said...

I love that haunting blue light in Tom's picture.