Out here in the rural, we are well into the stage of making plans with contingency plans in case we can’t get somewhere on the day. We watch the forecast, congratulate each other on getting somewhere before or long enough after snow falls, and turn on the gas logs each night for a bit of light and comfort.
Tonight I’ll be out in the wind chill advisory weather carrying my violin case; a good thing that even people like me, who resist wearing socks–let alone gloves–until the very last minute, now have gloves in the pockets of our winter coats; I have an extra-insultated parka that gets me through the winter.
The idea of a forecast is a gloomy one for the next two months. Looking ahead is a mistake. Waiting is hard, too, though, as in this poem by Karin Gottshall:
I remember, before the snow started,
thinking I wish it would start. The sky darkened
shadow on shadow. The cats, as usual,
slept through the morning. Then snow so heavy that even
my father, who was a kind of Noah—all resolve and solitude,
cabinetry and salt—couldn’t have steadied me. I remember—
and this was back when the sham fortune-teller sat
turning over cards, saying you will be lonely—
thinking it could be worse. Thinking loneliness
is nothing more than a cotton slip
and uncombed hair. A path you dig in the snow
once the snow has stopped. Thinking then let it begin.
But it’s not going to begin here. There are no dramatic shadows in the sky, just dull white. There will be no heavy snow, no paths to dig. Just a rim of something frozen at the edges of everything, and three or four layers to add to the cotton slip. If hair could get combed at the end, what’s the point when collars and hoods are going to brush over any shine that ordinarily I might be inclined to muster up?
Things are beginning . . . there’s an inauguration today. Right now, though, I do not feel a part of anything beyond my whitening driveway.