Saturday, December 20, 2008


A snow storm--the worst in years--covers the entire Northwest with ice and snow. The buses are running on "snow schedule," which means they are erratic and infrequent and don't climb the hills (dress warmly, warns the travel advisory). Tonight, after work, the bus dropped me off a couple miles from home and I had to trudge through the snowstorm up those hills. The temperature was in the teens. Snowflakes tumbled down. The path was icy and tricky. Once I left the main road the snow stopped falling and it was quiet except for the crunch and squeak of my boots. It was eerily beautiful. It was Dr. Zhivago all over again. At one point, I thought I saw Julie Christie in a fur ushanka cap but then I realized I was only freezing to death so I picked up my pace.

It had started snowing again. I watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for me to climb the steep hill where I live. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over the Northwest. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the lakes, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon Ballard, and Fremont, and Queen Anne, and the University District, and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous hills where I lived. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where the old robber barons lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. My soul swooned slowly as I heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

with apologies to jams jarce

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