image borrowed from ibtimes.co.uk
“Genius is an African who dreams up snow.”
Snow is like scotch--
you instinctually love it or hate it.
A lot of people adore snow,
become impatient waiting for it,
praying for it, doing snow dances,
before playing in it, never losing
a child’s sense of wonder about winter,
using arctic foxes & snowshoe rabbits as their totems.
Descending the stairs
on my snow-covered deck, I slip, cracking my tailbone
during my painful journey to the icy sidewalk.
A snowscape looks blissful, beautiful, peaceful on
a Grandma Moses painting,
a Norman Rockwell magazine cover
a Hallmark greeting card,
an Ansel Adams photograph, or
a ski resort poster, but while
Lying on my back in 6 inches of hard-packed snow
mantling a sheet of ice on the street,
putting on tire chains so that I can get out of my driveway
& negotiate my side street, only to take them off
in a parking lot before driving on the freeway,
wearing rubber angler’s overalls
to keep my slacks presentable,
the metal on the chains
blistering my bare hands because
my bulky snow mittens were too clumsy--
it doesn’t look too pretty to me.
In the northern part of our state,
near the Canadian border, the Mt. Baker ski area
holds the world record for accumulated snowfall
at 1,140 inches, or 95 feet.
Skiers & snowboarders consider it Nirvana.
There are over a half million
homeless people in this country and every damn winter
2000 of them die of hyperthermia
as the polar vortex has its way with them,
partly because the shelters were full,
or didn’t open their doors until the temps
were freezing, so a third of the homeless faced the snow
without any shelter at all.
I wouldn’t say I suffered from Chionophobia,
but it seems that I have always detested snow,
actually dreaming of strangling snowflakes,
all six sides of them, while
spraining my back shoveling snow, or
losing track of my car in the 6 foot drifts created
by the roaring helpful snow plows.
Did you know that snow falls at 3 m.p.h,
that every winter, one septillion snowflakes fall,
(that is one with 24 zeros),
that snow is actually clear & colorless,
that an average snowflake is made up of
180 billion molecules of water?
Neither did I.
Residing, as I do, hemmed in by two nearby mountain ranges,
with more than half the population nestled
on hillsides, with steep driveways--just 6 inches of snow
turns everything into a tortuous mad carnival ride,
causing thousands of wrecks, injuries, heart attacks
& mental breakdowns.
But the snow gods do not touch me
as much now that I am retired,
sitting warmly in my hovel watching
the traffic snarls only on television,
having the leisure to be haunted
once more by the sepia photos shown to me
by an older friend,
of nude Swedish women skiers,
when I was ten, &
knew very little about women
& still enjoyed snow.
Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics
Would you like to hear the author read this poem to you?