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December 26, 2012

photo(2)It is snowing today. Winter storm Euclid has gotten in between me and the rest of my family; we were supposed to drive to my brother’s house, north of Chicago, today, but we’re snowed in. Tomorrow we’re hoping to be able to drive. In the meantime, here we are, playing with some of our presents (the rest are still wrapped and ready to be put in the car) and having an unexpectedly quiet day. Can’t say we mind, exactly, since we scheduled with some flexibility in case of weather. Our theater tickets are for the 29th and 30th (when we get to a big city we do a matinee and an evening show each day)–Potted Potter, School for Lies, House of Blues Gospel Brunch, and The Book of Mormon.

The snow is as heavy as I’ve ever seen it, and I went looking for some other poems to push Wallace Stevens aside in my head (“it was evening all afternoon. It was snowing and it was going to snow”). This is one I found, by David Berman:


Walking through a field with my little brother Seth

I pointed to a place where kids had made angels in the snow.
For some reason, I told him that a troop of angels
had been shot and dissolved when they hit the ground.

He asked who had shot them and I said a farmer.

Then we were on the roof of the lake.
The ice looked like a photograph of water.

Why he asked. Why did he shoot them.

I didn’t know where I was going with this.

They were on his property, I said.

When it’s snowing, the outdoors seem like a room.

Today I traded hellos with my neighbor.
Our voices hung close in the new acoustics.
A room with the walls blasted to shreds and falling.

We returned to our shoveling, working side by side in silence.

But why were they on his property, he asked.

I like the image of the outdoors as a room with the “walls blasted to shreds and falling,” and I like the way the brother keeps asking questions in a direction I wouldn’t have predicted, even after the older brother admits he didn’t know where he was “going with this.”

The poem is like what I love about watching Supernatural–it’s just as likely that angels have come to earth, been shot, and dissolved as that a person could manage to make a snow angel deep enough that footprints walking away were eradicated by later snow.

That’s certainly the kind of day it is here, though. Whatever imprint we make in the snow is smoothed over in minutes. We thought about making a snowman, but Eleanor just watched the Doctor Who Christmas special, so that’s too scary. We’ll probably spend the rest of the day inside, happily immersed in various fictions. I got Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth and Laura Amy Schlitz’ Splendors and Glooms for Christmas. What books are you reading, or what plays, movies, or TV shows are you going to see in the next few days?

14 Comments leave one →
  1. December 26, 2012 6:59 pm

    I have another Swedish mystery to read (or is the author Finnish? I forget), but mostly I’m not doing anything like that. Definitely no TV or movies. Mostly just coasting in my head.

    • January 1, 2013 10:01 pm

      ‘Tis the season for Swedish mysteries. It always seems right to me to read them when it’s cold and dark so much of the time.

  2. December 26, 2012 7:46 pm

    Envious of Eleanor’s viewing!

    • January 1, 2013 10:02 pm

      She finds internet links and watches current shows for free. I’ve tried it, but I don’t have her skill.

  3. December 26, 2012 9:26 pm

    Kate Atkinson, Behind the Scenes at the Museum
    It had me from the first paragraph, somewhat to my surprise.

    • January 1, 2013 10:03 pm

      Another mystery! I will have to try one of Atkinson’s, one of these days.

  4. December 27, 2012 10:01 am

    I love snow angels. I love the little kid asking pesky questions. We have rain. I’m trying to seal the tile and grout in the shower – longer process than I had assumed it would be. But today is book club and it is raining. Otherwise, I have enjoying The Gargoyle for my reading pleasure. It’s really good but I’m still too distracted (or distractible?) to sit down.

    • January 1, 2013 10:04 pm

      We have had so much snow in central Ohio–it snowed three inches while we were gone, and then snowed on us all the way through Indiana and Ohio on our way home.

  5. December 27, 2012 5:40 pm

    I like that poem a lot! That’s the kind of lie I was prone to telling as a child, and honestly the kind of lie I am still prone to telling — I start out with something weird, not sure where I’m going with it, and then the other person has fifteen questions about my weird premise, so I’m stuck making up a whole bunch more lies.

    Get unsnowed-in soon! And belated Merry Christmas to you!

    • January 1, 2013 10:06 pm

      We did get to Chicago and back. Everything we saw was wonderful, and The Book of Mormon lived up to our expectations, which were high!

  6. Karen D permalink
    December 30, 2012 1:49 pm

    That Seth sounds like my Daniel. Always coming back with new questions about a topic you’d thought you’d finished with. Always asking why about something. Why would the farmer care that the angels had been on his property?

    I enjoyed this poem, and I’m glad you shared it with us.

    • January 1, 2013 10:07 pm

      I like a kid (or a farmer) who wants to know why even when it doesn’t affect him.

  7. December 30, 2012 8:30 pm

    What an interesting poem … snow angels shot down! I didn’t expect that!!!

    Wishing you a wonderful new year with lots of 5 star reads!

    • January 1, 2013 10:09 pm

      And I wish you a wonderful new year with lots of good things you don’t expect.

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