The white stuff – It’s falling pretty heavy right now

January 18, 2008

It’s been snowing all day. It’s the kind of snow that doesn’t show up on the weather maps, oddly enough. It’s some kind of ludicrously slick snow; a snow so thick that the plow operators are having a hard time keeping their trucks straight. The roads are not inundated with a lot of the white stuff, it’s just that there has been this kind of warm sun that has thawed out a bit of that snow that has been plowed up on the side of the roads lately, and this has frozen slowly. The temperature today never really dropped below thirty, and this tends to create a slushy condition on the road. There is only about an inch anywhere on the road, though a considerable amount more has fallen. I hear that down by Marquette they already got nine inches today. But those folks in Marquette are greedy, always wanting more of whatever we get first.

And even though this snow, this glorious frozen water that falls from the skies to infuriate drivers all across the city, makes travel somewhat slower and significantly more dangerous, there is a devolution  of society when it comes. It blankets the landscape to hide our sharp, squared blemishes on the land. Drifts pile up along rooftops, forming them into an organic structure. The sounds of automobiles are muffled, and one can hear the wind far more clearly than ever before; and this inspires a man greater than any cantata, oratorio, opera or lyric can. And though the sounds of passing cars are softened by the fallen snow, other sounds ring crisper than ever before. Not louder, just crisper. Everything is stifled. Everything is white. White is pure, and pure is how we should be, but purity remains an elusive roaming beast on this land so pocked with technology. The remaining animals, those who have not either migrated south for the winter or been caught in a hunter’s sights, know that this is a return to how things were before we ever came and put our saws to the land.

Yes, the snow exgloriates us. Any notion of vanity is removed, we are stripped of our built up facades of glory and we see how imperfect we are, how we pale in comparison to that of something as simple as frozen water crystals. But then we turn to our loved ones, and to share in this moment, this wonderful dark night, it makes up for our flaws.

The lights up in Hancock on the hillside look like a painting that, had they ever worked together, Kinkade and Van Gogh had labored over.
The Christmas lights are still up in town. Downtown Houghton lamposts are adorned with blue garland stars, and in these stars are lights of blue to a faded blue that almost appears white. The Christmas season is over of course, but that does not make these decorations any less appropriate.  Blue is serenity, and it just makes folks feel like where they are is good. And it is good. It is good to those of us lucky enough to find this state of content in the brutal iced winds and blowing snow.

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