It’s snowing again.
Normally, those words would not mean much. A little bit of snow, like that which falls on Emily Dickinson in “Snowflakes” perhaps. However, I live in New England, where we have had several years’ worth of snow since the end of January. A few more inches of snow means that squirrels can now stroll up to the bird feeders and help themselves because the baffles are buried in snow. It is now possible to reach out the front windows and make a snowball. Tomorrow folks at the town hall, hair salon, gas station and grocery store will complain even more about the temperature, lack of parking, slippery conditions, and wonder aloud how many more days until the Red Sox begin spring training. (The answer is zero. Pitchers and catchers report today!)
I’m not sure what number snowstorm this is, or how many inches we have now. This storm doesn’t have a name, so clearly it is not that big a deal. This is a pretty snowfall, the kind that makes you think of Christmas Eve, or sleigh rides in the country. Except that here in the country, the snow pack is already at least 8 feet deep, and if you tried bringing a horse out of the barn, he’d find himself up to his nostrils in powdery white stuff.
To cheer myself up, I’ve been thinking about snow in poetry and literature.
Immediately I think of The Chronicles of Narnia and Jadis, the conniving white witch. More recently we have Elsa, whose talent for freezing things when she’s annoyed or upset is responsible for the entire entertainment industry lollapalooza know as Frozen. (“Cold never bothered me anyway…”)
As for poetry, quite a few poems have snow in their title or focus. Emily Dickinson wrote at least 5 of them. I love “The Snow Storm” by Edna St. Vincent Millay. However, the poem that I was encouraged to memorize in school, the poem that to me and to many others represents winter in New England, is the one I am including here:
“Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost (1923)
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Until next time - Fancy