Surprised by Snow

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voice behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life that you could save.

– Mary Oliver, The Journey

During the winters of my childhood I devoured the weather reports hoping beyond hope that school would be cancelled by snowfall. With the highest of expectations I stood like a meteorological sentry, watching and waiting for it.

As a result, now as an adult there are few things in the natural world I love more than unexpected snowfall. What a pure delight it is when the sky bestows her crystalline grace and surprises me with the wonder of snowflakes, just like she did this morning!

I do realize that what I just wrote doesn’t seem well-paired with the favorite poem from Mary Oliver above. But perhaps, there was a moment not so many years ago where I realized I was the only one in the whole universe who could trust her own life. And it hit me while standing in an unforecasted flurry of bs that truly, after all these years I was the one I’d been waiting for. 

We never can know what might happen next. When opportunity knocks, will you be awake enough, alive enough, and hungry enough to reach out and grab it?


Photo Credits:  Surprised by Snow by Susan J. Preston, Santa Fe, NM © 2020, all rights reserved
Technical: Fuji XT-3 | XF 16-55 f2.8