December 29, 2009
Snow snow snow snow snow!
It’s not just an Irving Berlin song,
IT’S A WINTER SOLSTICE
BLIZZARD SNOWSTORM IN NEW YORK!
The ornamental roof spire across the street stands out in relief against the spooky gauzy outline of the church steeple hulking behind it. The windows are splattered with windblown snow; the sills have four-inch drifts piled on them. Christmas lights at a house across from us provide the only color in the streetscape. The bare branches of the trees are fleshed out with a thick padding of snow. Icicles hang from either side of a streetlight like a Fu Manchu mustache. There’s a holy silence to the night, no cars passing, no hum of distant traffic. Way far away I detect the muffled banshee cry of a siren.
THE STREETS WERE CLEAR
at 11:00 when I left friend Jon’s place for Tea Lounge this morning in Brooklyn. When I walked home at 1:00, the snow was spitting in my face. When we went to Christine’s Christmas party at 2:00, I was a-slippin’ and a-slidin’. Moving on to a theater performance at 4:00, I got salt stains on my black boots. Coming out of the show at 6:00 I opened my umbrella but the snow was flying sideways at my face anyway. On the way back to Christine’s party after dinner at Cubana Café, my boots were sinking in the accumulation.
The man from Munich, shoveling his stoop with a dustpan
I couldn’t help yelling as I navigated with baby steps the slippery slopes of Park Slope. Losing my footing on ice or wet leaves inspires a twinge of mortality, a dread of life slipping away without notice. By the time we made it back home, snow stinging my face like needles, the geology of my black felt hat, which resembles a pastry bag rosette rising to a peak, was one of snow-covered hills and dales.
Currier and Ives, Central Park style
The refrigerator compressor clicks on, disturbing the room. Hey! I want to kick it, not tonight! It’s been snowing and blowing for more than twelve hours now. The last time I saw snow was January ‘09 on my jaunt between Chicago and San Francisco, on the frozen fields of Illinois and Iowa, the haunted barren ranchlands and buttes of Utah, rocky crags of Colorado and evergreens of the Sierras—all from the cozy comfort of my climate-controlled cocoon on the California Zephyr.
Christmas on Union St.
I don’t remember how long ago I last walked in snow—and I am overjoyed, exhilarated, choking with excitement. In my thirteen years in California, I’ve felt like a cheat, escaping the ravages of the real weather I experienced during my 26 years in Philadelphia. In San Francisco the weather is never a factor as to whether I will do something or not, I don’t give it a thought.
Snow snow snow snow snow!
I was lucky to have booked my flight from SF for Friday the 18th. A day later, I might have been stranded. A snowplow thunders by scraping down Union St. At 4:00 a.m. neighbor comes out to wield his shovel. I am tempted to go out for a walk in the winter wonderland, but I am finally winding down. The snow will still be there tomorrow, after all. It’s not going anywhere, and now, neither am I, except to sleep.
SOME FUCKIN’ BLIZZARD
What was all the hype about? Yes, there was substantial accumulation, but I was expecting this city to SHUT DOWN! I was expecting another Saturday on Sunday. But on Sunday, the sun came out. Boo! Milder temperatures plus snow = slush. That we don’t like.
Oh well. Beautiful day for walking in New York, coat hanging open, and I still sank into snow up to my knees, fell on my butt on 5th Avenue, yelled whoa about a billion times. Thrilled to find the fabulous Robert Frank exhibit The Americans I saw at SFMOMA this summer now at the Met. Mind-blowing Tim Burton retrospective at MOMA, William Blake as you have never seen him at Pierpont Morgan Library. The truth is, I don’t want to leave New York. There’s too much to do. If there were an apartment set up for me here I could have my cats shipped to, I’d leave all my crap behind and begin a new decade in a new city. I’ve got a coffee hang, a corner bar, a best friend, my family a 90-minute train ride away, New York at my disposal. It sounds like a good idea at the time. Let’s see what it feels like as I cross the miles back to the other coast.
The author in her glory on her butt on 5th Ave.
Short Attention Span Poetry Corner
I saw Jesus at the mall.
He said, "This Christmas thing is a drag!"
I know what I’m needing and I don’t want to waste more time; I’m in a New York state of mind.
copyright Alexandra Jones 2009