here, in the snowiest month


On the way to Black Velvet, the world was quiet except for the muffled hum of all the vehicles – stuck ones and moving ones and chained ones and lifted trucks and snow plows, some of them with spinning blades and blowers and some without. At the coffee shop, the woman working talks about how a snow plow pushed her car out this morning. At home, a group of my neighbors helps another whose car is stuck, digging out all the wheels until she could pull into her garage. A guy in a pickup truck stops beside me on the road and asks if my car was okay. He said I looked like a woman he’d helped dig out earlier. A man climbs a ladder, the bottom of which is already above my head, the snow that high to start with, to get onto a roof. Girls in Ugg boots slide their way down the street, snow at least six inches deep after the plow came through.

On the way to Black Velvet, the world was quiet except for the muffled hum of all the vehicles – stuck ones and moving ones and chained ones and lifted trucks and snow plows, some of them with spinning blades and blowers and some without. At the coffee shop, the woman working talks about how a snow plow pushed her car out this morning. At home, a group of my neighbors helps another whose car is stuck, digging out all the wheels until she could pull into her garage. A guy in a pickup truck stops beside me on the road and asks if my car was okay. He said I looked like a woman he’d helped dig out earlier. A man climbs a ladder, the bottom of which is already above my head, the snow that high to start with, to get onto a roof. Girls in Ugg boots slide their way down the street, snow at least six inches deep after the plow came through.

It comes and comes and comes, so much so that there’s no point making any sort of plans beyond thinking through the debatable safety of getting to work each morning. I dig out my car, and then dig it out again, and again, each time it’s covered with just as much snow. I start it, maybe, move it to another spot, keep shoveling, do it again. I breathe hard just walking through the snow. My glasses fog up. It’s a lesson in dedication, which is something I sometimes lack. All this shoveling is useless but necessary. This has to be a lesson.

Here’s what I want to say, very quietly, just barely: I love it. I love it the way I loved exams in college… two weeks of full force, no stopping, getting fed meals by Bob and Mary and all the oldies, giving each other the same wide-eyed, exhausted look as we went into exams and cranked out final projects and edited long bullshit papers. I didn’t love this world until I wandered out into it today, to get a green tea latte and do some work but really just to see how the world was moving, what everyone was doing, what music they’re playing at the coffee shop and whether people waded through the snow to get beer or coffee or snacks. And they did!

We’re lucky. We’re all inside in warm buildings, the power is still on – thank god – and though the highway may be closed and my car may be two feet deep again in snow when I get home, I got to laugh at the tiny plastic shovel the guy at A-Frame was digging out with, and I got to thank the guy in the pickup truck who thought it was my car that was stuck, and I got to listen to a half-drunk group of snowboarders here (boards leaned against each other in the corner, of course) talk about how wonderful Obama was and how scared they are of Trump’s policies. There’s a world out here – we just can’t see it through the whipping wind and ice beating against the windows.

I haven’t thought of much other than the snow lately — when it will stop, where we will put it all, how the world can produce this much precipitation for this many hours and days straight. A neighbor and I talk about how consistently stressful it is… a low but constant thought of trying to figure out the logistics of moving through this much accumulated snow. Yesterday I crawled into bed and saw all of my favorite women at marches or writing about marches or saying “I love you & I’m here” in one way or another and I felt terrible about not getting there, somehow, to be with people who were doing really good, really important, really necessary things, that I’m sure sometimes feel useless, as useless as shoveling snow.

So I’m shoveling, and I’m learning to be a little more dedicated than I usually tend to be, and I’m thinking of you all and all the maybe-useless but maybe-incredible things that make up these days and I’m trying to be better, here in this little mountain snowglobe, and it’s you badass-as-fuck ladies who make me want to be better. Thank you. I love you & I’m here.

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