Wednesday, January 12, 2011

As it Falls

There was another snow storm. The college I was due to start teaching at today canceled class so instead of staying in to prepare my syllabus, I went for a walk.

Snow had accumulated quickly, filling the streets, making South Philly feel curiously abandoned--empty, but well-lit--like going into a supermarket at 3AM. The only people about where like me, oddballs that run toward every strangeness, every little thing that others avoid. I was outside precisely because no one was outside. I didn't want to miss it.

My neighborhood was so bright, though. I hadn't expected that. I was used to the quiet that comes with a snow storm. They don't call it a "blanket of snow" solely because the fresh accumulation looks so much like a fleece comforter, sparks of flakes looking like bits of fuzz. A silence descends, a delicious silence, a silence of anticipation, the silence shared with a lover in winter, huddled under a blanket, maybe before a fire, maybe before a movie, that restrained giddiness of just being close and alone and not needed anything more.

Or maybe that's just me. Weather like this makes me long for someone to hold, but that doesn't make it unique. Parks in summer, the right kind of concerts, even getting high make me feel that way. Some people just need to touch, to have simple physical contact to feel whole, to feel healthy.

My friends say I need a dog. I don't disagree with them.

On my walk, the snow was piled, fluffy and light over everything--fences, branches, even the cables running from telephone poles into houses. I know the wind will have its way, will knock that snow loose, help gravity and time tamp it down.

But at 2AM, when it was still fresh, the world seemed impossibly light, like every one of us, if we could be unburdened, could fall and shatter in the softest possible way, shatter and disperse and be reduced to innumerable flakes carried by the wind, weightless, delicate, and perfect.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Little Things

I'm consuming stories about friends who fail to become lovers.
I'm thinking in Facebook status updates that I do not post.
I'm trying to improve my OK Cupid profile.
I'm trying to say what makes me quintessentially me when I don't know what that is.
I'm not writing anything right now.
There's a story I haven't told whose central image is an angel standing just inside the edge of a snowy wood overlooking the banks of a frozen creek. A dog has just saved a boy from the water. In the end, the boy sits on the bank, staring across at the angel, who is singing in a language that is not language, in a sound beyond sound, looking on with self-involved indifference as the boy's dog dies. I don't know the rest of the story.
I never know the rest of the story even when I'm the one telling it.
My birthday was a week ago. I didn't celebrate it. That's another little thing.
There are many little things.
The timing's been wrong.
It wasn't a very good year.
I meant to write you a letter, but what would I have told you?
Hi,
I'm still where you left me, but I think I'll be leaving soon.
Yes, I'll have to be moving on soon.
What I need to do is happening somewhere else, but it's okay.
Don't worry, it's okay.
I'm very good at starting over.