4.3.18 Garden path
I had imagined the thaw would come like something fresh and certain. Instead, it came as dishwater, all grey and full of last week's slops.
It has been a strange week. The snow made a canvas of everything and I have sat and watched it, as I watch everything else. As more of the land was buried, the opposite seemed to happen to people. Everyone seemed to melt back to something stark and habitual, everyone a new caricature of themselves. In speech, in tweets, in posted photos: it felt like we were all pared back to some secret core. All of life's well-worn reactions to itself came in an avalanche.
I have seen people dismiss snow, determined to make it small and trivial. Others seemed bent on stressing its bigness, its competitive covering, as if to have the most was to win something unspoken. I have seen those who spoke only of the joy of it, who were made children by it, and those who could feel only its hardships and sorrows. I have seen bold bravado and daring, boasts of conquests and defiance against weather's so-called warnings, and I have seen softer, humbler, endurance. Shouted charity ran alongside the quieter, overlooked kind while others sat back and argued the value of both or neither.
I have seen those use the snow as just another backdrop to the proclaimed sensuality of their bodies, bared limbs and bared skin making the mother in me tut, as well as those who embraced only the ridiculousness of themselves and the circumstance. I have seen people made artists; considered photographs, captured beauty, meticulously sculpted igloos took their place alongside cock and balls drawn large on car windows. I have seen people take on the role of spokespeople and teachers and those who said nothing much at all. Others have worried over what it all means, for our futures, for our climate, while others barely looked up from their own inward concerns, or if they did, it was only to turn to panic-buying and the easy comfort of consumerism. Some felt restricted, restless, others seemed free, but each of us, in turn, reverted to something reactionary or needed in ourselves, all framed by snow.
As for me, I overthought it all more than was necessary, of course, for I am as predictable as the rest. I worried about the small, frail bodies of birds and the limbs of trees, and the bodies and limbs of people too. I breathed a sigh that held relief and confusion all in one when the grey rain came because I have hated the added restriction and loneliness of the last few days but have loved having something new to look at.
Now it's disappearing, most have moved onto other other things already, but stuck still, where I am, I find I can still see the same reactions, the same instincts, the same deep expressions of self played out over and over, muddy and bubbling in the meltwater. There was nothing new in any of it, not really. We simply all used the same canvas for a little while. I think that white slate made an easy one.
Tonight, I keep thinking that there was something beautiful and fragile and desperate about the whole thing.
How simple we become when we lose some control. How very fleeting this all is.