Sunday, December 28, 2014

a collaboration on snow; a walk by the sea

To have snow on my face right now.
To see it on my shoulders, my arms.
To see each footprint of every creature, every breath of wind.
To hear the silence of the snowfall.
To smell its cool, damp freshness.
To feel it give way underfoot, to hear its crunch.

To see it pick out every branch, define it, enhance it, perhaps even burden it, until it is shaken off, or brushed off, or pushed off by sun or wind or rain or more snow, or a passing critter.

To see it soften a landscape, draw a new one.

To hear it slide off the roof, hit the ground with a resounding thud.
To watch it and the sun and the breeze create icicles
and to listen to those icicles
as they drip,

To wake in the middle of the night and it is so quiet you can hear it in its silence, you can hear the snow falling even as it makes no sound, the snow, drifting down in a world so soft and cold it is hard to imagine yet there you huddle snug and warm in the middle of it.

To fall back into a bank of snow, feel it catch you, give slightly, hold you, hold your impression.

To scoop up a handful, form it into a ball, throw it. Try to hit that tree over there. Miss wildly.

To shovel a path for yourself and your dog and to watch your cat disappear as he steps gingerly around that bank of snow.

To see moonlight reflected on fields of snow.

To stand still, to let it swirl around you.

To feel each flake, soft as a breathe, as it lands on your cheek.

To go out on a clear, still morning after a storm to see what nature has done. To see the swirls and dips and folds and flat planes and impressions and layers and improbable obstacles and to know it has nothing to do with you, cares nothing for you, but is a gift, nonetheless, sometimes of dubious origin, to be sure, for who would give such a gift? A gift of beauty but hardship.

To listen to the intense quiet until a tree pops in the cold.

To catch in the corner of your eye a swirl of snow leaping from the crest of a drift, dancing ever higher, ever higher through the air.

To feel the soft magic of snow as I did seeing this photo
taken by Abbey Palmer, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan,
“ … 3 pm, the day before the solstice.”

I walk and feel the warmth of sun on my shoulders.

On my face a breeze of ocean air, light, fresh, damp, alluring.

The ocean swells and crests and breaks and curls and rolls and climbs the shore and recedes, over and over, always in motion, always movement, the waves sometimes orderly, arriving with pattern, cresting and rippling shut like a clunky zipper north to south, each wave, time after time, and sometimes the waves are disorderly, zippers opening and closing every which way then clashing, smacking together, shooting up water like geysers, like dancers in a mosh pit, and sometimes a wave is rolling out, down the slight slope of the shore, back to the ocean, and it meets a wave rolling in and there is confusion. The water roils. The water moves. Constantly. Pulled and shaped by wind and tides and, for me, the unknown.

The roar and rumble, the seethe and the lull, constant.

The light on a clear blue day is harsh. The sun spills light and the ocean shoots back sparks. All is blue with glares of pale gold and yellow.

The light with clouds, with a haze of fog, is fantastic. All colors arise from the ocean to rest on its surface, seemingly grey, but more a mosaic of blues and oranges and pinks and reds and purples and lilac and greys and every color. Like the sky. The grey sky full of light and color.

Some days the wind blows hard across the tops of the waves releasing tall, curling plumes of spray. As the plumes reach ever higher the wave becomes twice its size and the air becomes ever fresher, ever more exhilarating.

It is like watching the flame of a fire.

I walk and my footprints join others, bare feet tiny and large, patterned shoeprints, the paws of dogs, all rounded, circles within circles, crossing and criss-crossing precise, twiggy trails of shorebirds. And the ocean leaves its mark along the shore with rivulets and streams that trail like seaweed and tiny pools that gather and encircle pebbles and shells. I walk along, the ocean laps at my feet.

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