There’s a whiteout beyond the cool glass panes that sets the house aglow. Relentless. Quivering. Frozen. Michael, in his disdain for it, refers to the snow as fallout. Sometimes I can see why—the way the flakes sometimes fall so fast and swirling feels impossibly treacherous, oppressive. I hear a faint ringing in my ears as I sometimes do and I wonder if it’s simply a matter of being human or if it’s just me. Inside I’m somewhere between violet and smoke, a low rumble travels through my bones, my aching head. A string of negativity runs taut from head to toe, its threads seeping out of my pores like garlic. Everything seems to deserve a scowl, and the world, with all of its sounds and words and sights, comes to me in complaints. What am I doing wrong?

It's minus five degrees outside, having warmed up since early this morning. Calvin's relentless grousing is driving me crazy. I've no idea what bothers him so. If I'm not already, I'll be certifiably insane by the end of this winter break.

Some early morning skiers in bright regalia slide their way down the unplowed road past our windows. We can’t get out into it, I think to myself. Can’t feel the sting of a bitter wind that makes noses drip and cheeks flush like berries—a wind I'd happily welcome abrading my face if it meant playing outside with my son. Can’t catch snowflakes on our tongues or form balls of the stuff to toss at each other, can’t create a snowlady with sticks for arms and a pine cone nose. And those beautiful bell-shaped angels made in the shape of a child—don’t even go there.

So we stay inside—sequestered—as snow gathers like lichen on cedar shingles and burdens green bows. We'll swirl in circles for hours in dizzy monotony like those snow flakes do. From somewhere down the street the meaty drone of a snow blower competes with the grinding of Calvin’s teeth and if I close my eyes I can hear myself breathing, can feel my heart skip a bit here and there. And I know, on days like today, I must take one deep breath at a time.

Original version published last December.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, ugh. Your words are beautiful, and they remind me of the Wallace Stevens' poem "Gubbinal."