Does John deserve snow?

It is 45 degrees out and windy, but through the bay window this Saturday presents as a nearly perfect specimen of mad mid-spring glory. Only the chimneys of Woodland Drive hawking their Rorschach blots of white wood smoke hint at the dissonance.

Otherwise, the lawns are surging green, long and lush as moss. Color erupts everywhere along the X and Y axis, and the woods out back seem to fill in perceptibly. Everything swells with the sugars of life — spring at its most explosive and downhill, and there will be no stopping it now. Seeds and pollen dance in the shafts of sunlight with — is it? — a few psoriatic flakes of snow?

Snow. Commandment one of the poet’s code instructs us not to project human sentiment upon the weather. Commandment One of the cynic’s code encourages us to wean ourselves off the notion that nature — be it birds, clouds, stars — is about us, a system of coded messages through which the higher powers guide those who are willing to hear.


The great naturalists like Burroughs and Muir and Wendell Berry cared little for scenic vistas or where the really radical spots were, dude; they found what they love in every rotting stump and plump tick, and in all weathers and climes.

“It’s all good,” we say by which we really mean “There’s no point arguing about and a not a damn thing we can do it about it, anyway.” But today I am looking at you, weather, and taking you as a personal insult. I attribute to today a didactic, punitive intent, aimed not at humanity, or America, but at me, John.

Snow? What would you have me understand? What have I done, and what is it you want from me, and, just generally, wtf?


Read more installments of Village Voices by John Burdick.

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