As These Mountains Melt Away
Rain today, temps up to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The piles of snow at the end of my drive (up to my shoulders) are beginning to shrink, though it will take time. The remaining snow is transforming from smooth bright white to serrated shades of brown and gray and black. Bits of fallen branches are beginning to poke out, and I can measure the general snow cover against the wire mesh around one of my hosta patches, as it emerges one row at a time. This winter has been an unusually ungrateful guest, staying too long and leaving behind a lot of debris and disorder.
That’s been especially true with the long cold last few months -- immediately after Christmas we changed from the sort of mild winter in which it seemed it would never snow and the lakes would never freeze, to a super-cold spell and snow that has become a record amount. Sometimes, when I noticed the unending undulating mounds of snow throughout the city, the phrase came to mind, “at the mountains of madness.” That may take a bit of explaining. Beyond the simple frustrations and irritations of a growing sense of cabin fever, the snow reminded me of the cover of a paperback version of H.P. Lovecraft’s novella of the same name; that cover, on a story set in the Antarctic, shows a series of tall white snow-covered, wind-sculpted cliffs, edged with shadows, illuminated by sunlight but set against a pale grey sky of clouds. Beyond those cliffs lay a world of danger and struggle.
Sort of sums up the winter that (I hope) was.
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