Thursday, February 21, 2013
in the calm before
maybe '13 is gonna be like '69, '78, '97—it's gonna blow out there! that's how the real old timers talk when a blizzard's coming. the new old timers on the news concur. they're reading the maps, the models and the almanacs, the tea leaves and the crystal balls. once they stop peering, straining their eyes, they offer up a prediction. they tell us to stay home. don't move.
in '78 i broke the law. i didn't stay home, didn't hunker down. classes canceled, i drove my vw to maine after the governor of massachusetts declared a driving ban. the worst was over but the snow kept coming. when i stopped at forbidden intersections and inched forward past towering man-made mountains of white powder on my way to the interstate, i imagined the scream of police sirens, but there was no one out there to catch me. not a soul.
put away the devices of our own devising. cameras, cell phones, laptops won't help us now. wind remakes shorelines, alters the course of rivers, wipes fishing ports off the charts. while the waters rise, networks succumb, bullets fly, people wash laundry, children grow. life separates, split by commas, into one thing after another.
in the calm before, we say we wish this day would never end. please don't let it end. the way the light bends through the smudged window and the snow sticks in the tall pines and the dog turns circles in her bed before she settles, and you, you drink a cup of coffee that's already getting cold.
the way that it is heartbreaking. we want to gather it up and press it, amber-like: small pieces suspended, preserved for a million years, an adornment, a crucible of illumination, tawny blare slashing through it, slashing through us. we edge around corners becoming the apparatus of our own survival, don't you see?