The White Stuff
Silently and gradually every slope, and the gray walls and fences, and the polished ice, and the sere leaves, which were not buried before, are concealed, and the tracks of men and beasts are lost. With so little effort does nature reassert her rule and blot out the traces of men. – A Winter Walk
What’s the biggest difference between England and New England?
Tea, you say? A fondness for standing in orderly lines (queues) for hours? Dentistry? Deference? Loudness? An obsession with the Royals? (On second thought, scratch that last one).
For me? In a word? Snow.
I grew up in New England, and spent a decade in Vermont.
Before I moved to London for 20 years.
This is my first blizzard in a long time.
And I am glad to share it with you.
I did see some snow while I was in England, but it was feeble stuff.
Nothing to awe human beings, and put them in their place.
As proper snow should.
Some of my earliest memories are of snow.
I think this is the hospital.
While we waited for my sister to make her entrance.
When I was at Brown University, I wrote a sonnet to a young lady.
The Emperor provided the inspiration.
This is the line I remember:
“Now whiting all the dullness from the earth”.
(Whiting was her last name).
Turning a dull day into delight.
That is what snow does best.
Rain in winter. The meteorological equivalent of tits on a bull.
The author of the epigraph that begins this post also wrote, in The Pond in Winter chapter of Walden, the following truth:
“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”
This snow on Boston Common and in the Public Garden means many things.
The arrival of winter.
The mastery of nature.
And a reminder to reflect on our insignificance, in the greater scheme of things.
I believe that is my bench!
For me, perhaps it’s also the ultimate proof.
That I am finally home.