When I was seven years old, I learned the poetry of winter.
In Massachusetts, winter snows are high and deep. I remember we had to pick my brother, Jim, up from some rural place that we never went before. I think it had to do with Cub Scouts. When we were on our way home, it began snowing heavily. As the snow fell, it grew increasingly dark as we wound down the narrow country road between high stands of pine and spruce. The branches were quickly covered, and weighed down, under layers of snow so that they bent to the ground and swept the sides of our car as we passed. Snowy road, snowy trees, pale, luminous, cloud buried night sky, blended together in a visions of whiteness, silent, still, and apart.
It was impossible to see where we were going. I am sure my parents were fretting, but I don’t remember that, for the sounds of their voices were muffled up by the all-pervasive, enveloping quiet of the snow. All I could see from the back seat of the car was a tunnel of darkness far ahead that was always just out of reach of the high beams that were swallowed by the white, blurry maw of the road, and reflected back in a silvery mist. The depths of the shadows, and the brightness of snow, the soft crunch of the snow treads as the car crept slowly forward, the utter stillness and silence of the night as all sound was absorbed by the snow, placed me in a trance, and I felt as if I was lost in a mysterious dimension far from our everyday life.
Suddenly, the car took a turn to the right and abruptly stopped. We had come to a dead end blocked by a high hedge of bare, snow-traced branches woven between evergreen swags all fused into a shimmering white pattern so like a gate, and with hints of such darkness beyond, that it seemed we had come to the very edge of the world.
There is where memory ends; stilled by the beauty my mind held on to.
Where there is ice, there must be fire. Can you smell the wood burning? Ahhh! Heaven.
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