LOCAL VIEW —SNOWBOUND—

It was a wild and woolly morning, with heavy snow swirling in a strong breeze and the temperature at 9° (-13° Celsius), as my middle son hustled out the door to join my eldest son in his plow. Very soon the truck’s tracks were but fussy dents in the drive. (Among other contracts, my son has the contract for a pharmacy parking lot that needs to be plowed “every two inches” during a storm, because people will head out into bad weather for medicine.) They’ll be at it all day.

I wish I had bugged the cab of the truck with listening devises. It must be interesting when big brother orders younger brother out to do the hand work with a shovel, and then sits back in the heated cab to watch. Ah, the benefits of seniority!”  (Not that I myself see many.)

After that there just was peace, with only an occasional plow passing on the road, sounding muffled. The wind slacked off and the sky brightened a little and the snow became less thick, and all in all it actually seems a quite ordinary January storm, with about a foot of powder,  and a fair amount of drifting in the breeze. I expect I’ll start to clean up in the mid-afternoon, but for the moment I’m just enjoying the quiet.

Ordinarily people would be out and about already, but there was so much hoopla about this storm that everyone seems to be crouching indoors, expecting the start of World War Three. Fairly soon I expect they will start peeking out windows, and realize things aren’t all that back, and the peace and quiet will be disturbed. Until then, I’ll enjoy it.

The barometer is down at 29.55, (1000 mb) which isn’t all that low. The breeze looks to be around 15 to 20 mph, which isn’t all that high. A foot of snow isn’t all that deep. The temperature is up to 20.1° (-6.6° Celsius) which isn’t that cold. I really shouldn’t have closed the Childcare, and spoiled our record of never being closed. However I must admit it feels good to goof off, and now that I’ve set the precedent, I may do it more often.

It looks to me like the storm moved further out to sea than they expected. The snow is slacking off, and I even saw the sun, dim and remote, through the grey overcast streaming swiftly overhead from the northeast. Now we wait to see if the storm dawdles east of Boston, and throws any backlash bands of snow our way.

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Well, at least I have the time to read the start of “Snow-bound”, by John Greenleaf Whittier, which seems surprisingly up to date, considering it is 150 years old, and especially considering it was deemed out of date by some even when it was written. The start goes:

The sun that brief December day
Rose cheerless over hills of gray,
And, darkly circled, gave at noon
A sadder light than waning moon.
Slow tracing down the thickening sky
Its mute and ominous prophecy,
A portent seeming less than threat,
It sank from sight before it set.
A chill no coat, however stout,
Of homespun stuff could quite shut out,
A hard, dull bitterness of cold,
That checked, mid-vein, the circling race
Of life-blood in the sharpened face,
The coming of the snow-storm told.
The wind blew east; we heard the roar
Of Ocean on his wintry shore,
And felt the strong pulse throbbing there
Beat with low rhythm our inland air.
Meanwhile we did our nightly chores,—
Brought in the wood from out of doors,
Littered the stalls, and from the mows
Raked down the herd’s-grass for the cows;
Heard the horse whinnying for his corn;
And, sharply clashing horn on horn,
Impatient down the stanchion rows
The cattle shake their walnut bows;
While, peering from his early perch
Upon the scaffold’s pole of birch,
The cock his crested helmet bent
And down his querulous challenge sent.
Unwarmed by any sunset light
The gray day darkened into night,
A night made hoary with the swarm
And whirl-dance of the blinding storm,
As zigzag, wavering to and fro,
Crossed and recrossed the wingëd snow:
And ere the early bedtime came
The white drift piled the window-frame,
And through the glass the clothes-line posts
Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts.

The rest will have to await some evening, when I have more time. The entire poem is a short book. It is one of those rare  poems that actually made money for the poet.

A quick glance out the window shows the noon’s grown darker, and the snow has picked up again.  Hmm. Maybe it isn’t slacking off, after all.

I’ll try to update later.

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