Monday, November 9, 2009

I grew up in Minnesota

photo not mine.

I grew up in Minnesota. I am an only child. Winter was about 5 months long. Life was often very quiet during the long, dark, cold. There was a lot of snow.

Snow on the ground, snow on the trees, snow on the houses, snow on the streetlights, snow on the cars, snow on the school, snow on your face, and snow floating in the air. Sound gets very muffled.

In the navy darkness, lights are always on. Botanical shapes start to become outlined with gleaming pinpricks. Bright storefronts seem more inviting. People turn into moths, drawn to any flame. Everything is a star, and there are galaxies in galaxies.

Glasses clink everywhere and silverware makes sharp music on plates. Ornaments - religious or otherwise - make rustling and tinkling noises. Everything is delicate: the cookies, the sounds, the glances. People speak in low, soothing tones, and laughter glitters in conversation. Soft, fuzzy things abound in sweaters, stuffed animals, and blankets. Drinks are hot and radiating. Food is most often roasted: a crisp bite, then a tender flood in the mouth.

There is lots of time to stare out the darkened window into the night, and let the snowfall blur everything in front of your eyes. Small fingers caress frost patterns lightly, feeling the fern-like ridges on chilled car windows on the way to a glowing party.

Some of the best moments were spent lying in bed, feeling the warmth finally spread under the comforter, but knowing the chill was just inches beyond it. I could stick my fingers out and touch the dark, which was now familiar, smooth, rich, and cold. Bringing my fingers back in, I could feel them warm back up. With all sounds dampened by snow, I could almost hear my own pulse.

I felt like an entire heart, beating in the chest of some mute, primordial being made of darkness, temporary death, gray clouds, and crushed ice. In my cocoon, listening to the soft sound of nothing, I felt like I alone was the heart of winter.

Rule: Think about the quieter moments in your life. Also, there is nothing wrong with snow.


Kwo Ling said...

Okay, some day I'm going to be teaching a middle school lesson on imagery and I'll want to use this. Is that okay?

Limequat said...

I love you. That is totally ok.

Nancy said...

Quieter moments - listening to the wine in the trees. My dad and I used to do that at our old family house. Sometimes I stop and listen and a sense of calm comes over me.

Snow and wind = wonderful