snow - 1 (1)

A Dust of Snow

By Robert Frost

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

Boy did it snow–way more than a “dust”.  There was another snowbound day, with ten inches of snow on the road, and we had to wait our turn for the snowplow man to come.  At last, I made my way out of here for yoga class, and Robin said to me, “You must be really happy about the snow”, reminding me that I said I’d be happier about winter if it would just snow.  In truth, I was beginning to feel like Bill Watterson, of Calvin and Hobbes fame, “I like these cold, gray winter days.  Days like these let you savor a bad mood.”  But, then, around 4:45 in the afternoon, with amazingly light still in the sky, I went for a walk until dark.  Oh, such a “change of mood” to be out in the blue-lavender light of dusk, with geese formations flying overhead against brooding clouds.  There was not a breath of wind and the heavy snow did not move from the tree branches.  I felt like I could stay out there in such stillness forever, until the cold and darkness finally called me home.  This is what winter can be like, sometimes, in our best moments, when the mystery of transcendence brushes against us.  It’s one of those feelings you come back to at 3:00 in the morning, when you awaken in the dark, with your heart racing from some trouble, deep in your subconscious.

As slow as January has gone by, now, it feels like it’s picking up speed, and I realize that I am losing time in this pause month.  I’ve abandoned my clearing-out projects, choosing instead to watch YouTube videos of Marie Kondo joyfully fold a shirt or contour sheet.  I did finish yet another book, and I’ve sketched out a potential watercolor painting of the lighthouse I photographed at Cape Cod National Seashore last Fall.  It was late in October, and we were walking along the shore in the same kind of blue twilight of my snow walk the other day.   The clouds were as dramatic and gray and fierce as I’ve ever seen, and the wind was howling, and the sea mist chilled my face.  Every time I look at that photo of the lighthouse, high on a bluff, with raging clouds swirling around it in waning light, I remember exactly how I felt in that moment.  It seems worth the effort to see if watercolor can capture what it was all about, or, maybe, it’s just enough to write about it, sealing it into my memory, available to me in the middle of a dark night.

“Nature is part our humanity, and without some awareness and experience of that divine mystery man ceases to be man. When the Pleiades and the wind in the grass are no longer a part of the human spirit, a part of very flesh and bone, man becomes, as it were, a kind of cosmic outlaw, having neither the completeness and integrity of the animal nor the birthright of a true humanity.”–The Outermost House:  A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod, by Henry Beston

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