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The Third Snowfall
It was early December.
I had been up since ten in the morning
and had plans for two that afternoon.
It had been decided for a week that I
would visit my friend and see the condo he had just bought;
I was going to be renting the second bedroom.
The second snowfall had come around
six or seven Saturday night,
and there remained
as much snowfall through the night
that when I went outside for a cigarette
I was face to face with a humming and quiet life, and lull;
it could have been only the moment I took the
last drag of my cigarette; but it went on until one in the morning.
By then I was too tired to stay awake any longer.
My room is cold.
It often seems warmer outside because I will have
between 4 and 6 layers;
in the house, only 1 or 2;
I have a thick blanket that I slipped into
and when I closed my eyes, it was the snowing winter sky.
Cold mornings are a
dreadfully simple thing to explain
enduring a northern winter.
It wakes you up, but keeps you in bed.
It gets you in the shower and keeps you in the shower.
It starts coffee and it finishes the pot.
The book you’ve been waiting to read all year
has better appeal sitting on the mantel of the fireplace;
more than it likely did in the summer.
When I got out of bed that Sunday
I went into the kitchen
started coffee (taking a small pot,
filling it with water from the sink,
putting it onto the stovetop, finding the cone in the sink
that is still holding the muddy grounds from the day before,
washing the cone, washing my mug, drying both,
placing the cone on top of the mug, a filter in the cone,
coffee in the filter, and pouring boiling water into the fresh
store brand coffee grounds; watching the hot coffee drip and
fall from the bottom)
watched the steam rise from the mug
and dance through the sides of the cone.
- The History of Coffee by the National Coffee Association
Coffee discovered when an Ethiopian farmer discovered his goats were more energetic than usual after eating berries from a certain tree. Soon after, coffee cultivation and trade was established in the Arabian Peninsula in the 16th century.
My friend had called the night before. I wasn’t
sure if he was going to pick me up to see the condo.
He had said that if it was unsafe to drive (more or less)
that we’d have to plan for another day.
I was anxious to move in, and suggested
that we play it by year.
We would play it by year.
What's the most snow you've ever driven through?
The third snowfall had started by the time I woke up
but it was seeming likely, as I began to gain
at least most of my day-to-day focus
that it would be a manageable drive.
One thing I decided that morning was
to not walk to the laundromat
as originally planned.
It didn’t need to be done that badly
that it couldn’t wait
until my next day off
I slipped into my
blanket and read.
When there’s snowfall in a book, and I’m
sitting there with that character
(of all the given places they could be) and they’re
out on their front porch
just as comfortably as they would be standing on their front porch in the summer
with the grandeur of it all
white snow glinting like thousands of marching sword tips
that flow through every patch of green;
and the bite of holding cold metal making raw meat of his hands;
his family inside the house, and out of the lull
their daughter reading by candlelight
his son asleep; his wife waiting to be;
just once before dawn, he wanted to watch the snow fall.
My front porch was
covered in snow;
when I went outside, pulled out a cigarette
and saw our corner of the block
I noticed also that it wasn’t as cold as the night before.
Snow was falling heavily; the roads were being kept clear
well enough; and my friend had decided to pick me up.
We would stop at the grocery store for lunch, go to the condo,
and then I’d get dropped off at home.
He was driving his dad’s truck
because he was moving a 75 year old dresser
to the condo.
We pulled up, pulled the dresser out of the back, and brought it up
to the condo; before actually walking around we hurried down the steps
to pull the drawers out of the truck because it was parked in
the middle of the lane.
It was simple.
the layout was sensible to accommodate
There was a small den as well. It was about the size
size of my bedroom, and had double-glass doors.
My friend was turning it into a music studio.
Just like this, I thought.
I didn’t stay long. He needed to get
the truck back to his dad; the snow was falling pretty heavily.
When I got home my roommate was in the garage holding
a shovel. He asked if I could help shovel the driveway.
I grabbed the other shovel.
By then it was night,
and be it as it may, I felt inside darker than the night;
the sky was light purple, faint; and textured.
We worked swiftly with practiced speed and dexterity
his driveway was a light job.
So were most of the driveways in the neighborhood.
My skin was white;
feeling a small wash of heat through
my head, chest, shoulders, arms and neck, I stood up, leaned on the shovel
and looked at our corner of the block.
We’ve all seen it, several times before.
My roommates. Our neighbors next door. All the people down the road.
Every year it snowed, but not every year was the same.
There was a streetlight by the house. It illuminated the street
corner and the white snow banks across the street and just down the road.
I looked around and then stuck my shovel back into the snow.
When we were done, I found a small desire in me
to go out and shovel some more.
My roommate and I were having a cigarette.
The snow was just done falling and
people were just coming home from work.
The streetlight showed snow everywhere.
The snow on the phone lines looked like lines of cocaine;
and everything else, as well, seemed as if
I were looking at it from