Poetry | Seasons

A Moment With Snow

Aren’t there moments
that are better than knowing something,
and sweeter? Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness.

— Mary Oliver, Snowy Night

I know I have some readers in other parts of the world where snow is a distant memory or an impossibility. You might wonder why we carry on so much about the stuff, and it’s hard to nail down the reasons for the delight when we finally get snow again. While most of us have a love/hate relationship with it for all the joy and misery it brings, I think of it as an old friend that’s been gone too long.

Oliver’s quote is from a magical poem about encountering an owl on a snowy night. I quote Oliver poems perhaps more than I should in this blog, but I believe in mixing wonder into our lives. Oliver had a keen eye for the stuff, and jumbled her words just so to share it with you and me and generations who we haven’t imagined yet. That’s magic in itself, isn’t it?

You develop a nose for snow, and sense when it’s coming. You prepare for it as best you can, doing the yard work you put off way longer than you should have, move the shovels into a more convenient place, and the snowblower too if you have one. And then you wait for the first flakes to begin drifting from the sky, probing the land like a pilot probing a channel. Soon the rest follow and the world transforms before your eyes. Snow brings new perspective on a place you’ve come to see a certain way. Like a poem, really, that’s dropped on you at just the right moment.

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