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surprised by snow

We woke up to the silent bright light that only fresh snow can bring. Eight o’clock and still no garbage truck, no kids shouting their way to the nearby highschool. A gang of junkos sat on laden branches, eyeing the empty feeder. Thoughts tumbled as the day’s agenda was wiped off the calendar: no running group, morning class, recycling, dropping books off at the second-hand store. Put on the kettle, grab book and reading glasses, and do what any self-respecting west coast snob (“the daffodils are up already”) would do and head straigh back to bed. Clear the sidewalk? I think not: “we (who live in Victoria) don’t own snow shovels.” Herewith a poem by May Oliver:

The snow
began here
this morning and all day
continued, its white
rhetoric everywhere
calling us back to why, how,
whence such beauty and what
the meaning; such
an oracular fever! flowing
past windows, an energy it seemed
would never ebb, never settle
less than lovely! and only now,
deep into night,
it has finally ended.
The silence
is immense,
and the heavens still hold
a million candles; nowhere
the familiar things:
stars, the moon,
the darkness we expect
and nightly turn from. Trees
glitter like castles
of ribbons, the broad fields
smolder with light, a passing
creek bed lies
heaped with shining hills;
and though the questions
that have assailed us all day
remain – not a single
answer has been found –
walking out now
into the silence and the light
under the trees,
and through the fields,
feels like one.

source: Oliver, M. (1992). New and selected poems. photo: by Rita, taken in Victoria, BC this morning.


4 responses »

  1. I love a day where everything is cancelled. There is something so spontaneously exciting and delicious about it! And of course the undeniable beauty of those giant white flakes.

  2. On Mayne Island I woke to a skiff of snow that never amounted to much but the a week promise of what your day held. Still it was lovely. David had cut the grass yesterday so there was this strange mix of smells – freshly cut lawn and snow?

    I have been occupied welcoming a new grandson into our lives who was born on Saturday – so it pretty much doesn’t matter what the weather is like outside… I will tell you it is wonderful.


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