Sunday, December 16, 2007
Sarah's feeling for snow
There's a snow storm in Toronto.
Life in Canadia is exciting this way.
Everything is covered in snow, as you might expect, but I have never seen snow like this in my life. The snow rises and rises, making deceptive surfaces that wait for people to fall into them, mistaking air and water for something more solid. I trace the strata as it climbs, watch the wind lift the whiteness, and deposit it in deep drifts against windows, against doors.
The snow falls in circles, sweeping arcs of pure, white silence, drifting to the ground and making the world a cleaner, brighter, muted place. It sweeps from the rooftops in tiny grains, like sand, like dust.
I've had dreams like this.
Just staring at the snow from the safety of the house - no one dares venture beyond the front door for long, we can't tell where the stairs to the street are anymore and if you guess wrong and fall into a drift, you won't be found for days - leaves me dazed, dreaming and disoriented.
A small amount of people are still driving, but very, very slowly. From the balcony of Howard's room, I just saw a landrover towing three sleds covered in children slowly along the backstreets, the children screaming with joy. I wanted to be among them and maybe twenty years younger than I am.
Eskimo impersonators, wrapped in clothes so thick they waddle, not walk, take manual snow ploughs to their drives in a futile fight against the drifts.
The snow separates me from home, from the familiar. It reels my mind into a more intuitive frame, a different way of seeing, where my interior senses become more important than my physical senses - sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing. Instead I feel more. Thoughts - usually built of words - become emotions that swirl, like the clouds of snow beyond the window, around my heart.
Snow comes in such silence, strips the modern world of its supremacy over us; the snow takes me further away. Nothing about this landscape is familiar.
Snow, by Louis MacNeice
The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink rose against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.
World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.
And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes --
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one's hands--
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.