Monday, December 8, 2008
160: Winter Storm
Nothing miraculous or demanding, and I suppose patience is what is most summoned on a night like this. Can you see it above, the skyline of St Paul? It's obscured by that blue glow, and I think of the ocean when I look from my window at the farmland at the start of my journey, the way the two blues can be indistinguishable on the coast, and here in the Midwest, it's the faint white line differentiating the snowy fields with the gray winter sky. I call my husband as I creep home, and he's snuffling from his snowblowing adventures, our driveway the length of our lot and a crossing of sidewalks due to our corner lot. It's a lot of concrete to clear. I roll down the window of my car, trying to balance the steam of the heater with the chill of the outside, trying to unfog my windshield, and everything is so quiet, even surrounded by rolling traffic. Snow brings a hush down on the world, even when a fellow poetry MFA from California is leaping around, not quite knowing what he is in for, but for now, it's all beautiful, fresh, still white, and even his laughter has a muted quality. And as I read a thick novel on the sofa, now home safe, the journey just a bit longer from class and back, here with the dogs asleep at my side, one cat curled against the wool blanket, his purr meeting the sound of an engine, that paradoxical sleepy-urgency that comes from rutted tires, the sort that begs experimentation with flattened cardboard boxes and kitty litter. I've been stuck in snow countless times; I've gotten good at rocking the car without aid, that quick rhythm of gas, reverse, my body swaying in time to the propulsion. There was that one time I had to be towed from our driveway, right in front of the high school schoolbus, my face bright red either from the exertion or from the embarrassment (but not a combination of the two as I did not have enough red in my body for that). Another when I lived just off campus, our driveway inches of ice with two ribbons where the tires would go; I stupidly thought I could turn around, and my two front tires fit in neatly going perpendicular. This time it was sidewalk salt and the frat boys upstairs; I was late to my shift at the bookstore, but no towing fee, something my then-boyfriend, now-husband did not escape (oh, but then, I believe he had AAA, which we have now, an Easter present from his parents). It's strange to think of the perils of something so fleeting, but on my drive home tonight, I saw my first string of cars in the ditch as well as an SUV smashed by a snow plough, facing the opposite way on the highway at a slant, the driver side window shattered, red and blue lights flicking. It's all a part of this, the living, the risks we take in ordinary circumstances, another winter before us. Stay safe, I say.