I have lived and driven vehicles in regions that receive a great deal of snow, but it has been awhile–and I am not as spry as I once was–and I don’t even own a pair of cross-country skis anymore (a favorite winter activity). Being responsible for keeping a house and property and cars and pets maintained while the ice comes down and the snow piles up and the heat stops working and the power goes off has also somewhat dampened my enthusiasm for snowy winters. Plowing and shoveling are no substitute for XC skiing, and harder on the back. Worries about possible frozen pipes or whether the oil truck can get down the driveway (which resembles a bobsled run) shove more leisurely, more inspired thinking out of mind.
Nonetheless, I cannot ignore the beauty of fields and trees in snow or branches rimmed with ice or–as tonight–the cold, bright moon above the cold, white earth. I remind myself that snow is the best mulch. I think of the crocus and narcissus bulbs snug and dormant below the deep drifts. The house we built does its job of upholding us and protecting us. The house, wearing its white hat…
A poem from 2007, an experiment in sapphics, that seems appropriate.
Negotiating the Storm
Dawn. I curl away from the ice storm toward you,
your breath cools my face and my hair, the warm room;
Love, we’ve had too few of these moments lately—
other storms plague us.
Ice assaults the windows with droves of needles,
gusts shove over pines and flatten the birches.
I am glad for the weather’s impersonal aspect:
nothing to blame there.
Sleep. The sleet does not suffer indecision.
You don’t have to touch me, just breathing is plenty.
Walls and roof are stolidly doing their jobs,
power is on yet.
Let’s recuse ourselves from the task of judging
guilt or merits the past twelve moths have garnered,
forge a drowsy peace between us and also the
guileless brute outside.
© 2007 Ann E. Michael