And Then, It Snowed

At first, it was only a gentle tapping of sleet against the window, but it was enough to waken me, suggesting that something more than a cold rain might be in store.

The forecasters had seemed confident of snow, so I got up and began watching. Before long, flakes appeared: not many, and not so dramatic as those recorded earlier in the evening by people all along the coastal plain, but flakes nonetheless. Despite the hour — 4 a.m. — there was only one thing to do. I put on a pot of coffee, and got dressed.

By six o’clock, an inch had fallen. Temperatures along the water always are a few degrees warmer than those farther inland, so our snow was a bit slushy; it didn’t accumulate on the grass, and began melting almost immediately on plants. Still, on rooftops, table tops, and the cold fiberglass of boats, it stayed until well after dawn.

Even run-of-the-mill rooftops took on new interest with the addition of snow.

Enjoying the morning’s novelty, I remembered a poem published in the Galveston Daily News on February 14, 1895. On that day, a truly significant snowstorm struck the Texas coast, piling up from 21 to 28 inches of snow.  The anonymous author of a slightly awkward verse titled “The Texas Coast Land” first described the delights of the Texas coast — flowers, birds, sand, and gentle breezes — and then concluded:

If you think it doesn’t freeze here,
Ne’er grows cold and never snows here,
Then you surely should have been here
On the day you see below here.
For it surely was a hummer
And proved it is not always summer
In the Texas coast land.

 

Comments always are welcome.
For an account of the famous — and far more substantial — 2004 Christmas Eve snow known locally as “The Christmas Miracle,” please click here.

 

Looking Toward Winter

Soybeans and silo ~ Chase County, Kansas

Whatever you’re storing for the winter — be it acorns, soybeans, apples, or nuts — be sure to choose your container carefully.

 

Comments always are welcome.

A bit of additional information:
After looking at photos of similar silos, it became obvious that the split in the side was common. Mike Holder, District Extension Director for Agriculture & Natural Resources in the area, told me that the space would have been taken up by a series of small doors. Before filling, the doors were closed, and then the silage was blown in. As it was needed, one door after another was opened, beginning from the top, and the silage tossed down. Most doors were wooden, and they sometimes were removed when a silo was no longer used.

Happiness, In A Fog

Early morning fog, Bastrop Bayou

 

Rather than defining happiness, the poet Jane Kenyon prefers to describe its coming in her poem of the same name.

There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.
And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.
No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.
It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basketmaker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.
It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.

 

And, I might add, it comes to the egret and heron alike, to the bank-lining reeds, and to the watcher in the fog. It may even come to the fog, unless, of course, it comes as the fog itself.

 

 

Comments always are welcome.