Sunday, March 23, 2008

Spring Snow

The plan was to stay in all day to cook and continue reading Planetwalker, a book which will figure in a future post. When I raised the blind and saw it snowing with a couple inches on the ground plans changed. I hadn't heard a forecast so I checked the weather which predicted flurries, but radar showed a long arrow of Lake effect snow coming off Superior with the east wind. I didn't think I'd be as lucky as other parts of the state which got over a foot a couple days ago, but I'd enjoy whatever came. On with the boots and I hurried out.

At the best of times, the beauty of a snowstorm is ephemeral before the wind and sun remove it from tree branches and humans sully it and push it out of the way of commerce. In early spring with more sunlight, the silent whiteness remains even more briefly. Knowing that each storm could be the last til next winter adds extra appreciation and gratitude to the moment until the joy approaches that felt during the first good storm of the season.

We'd had a couple big storms in December which remained on the ground all winter, but not much accumulation since and little opportunity to be outside as the snow fell. The early morning Sunday, with the bonus of being a holiday to most people in the area, made the streets particularly still as I walked through the new powder. My ears heard a euphony of crows which seemed to indicate they were enjoying the weather along with me and, with my eyes closed and the human world quiet, reminded me of ravens deep in the woods. Ahh, corvids, another worthy topic.

The previous day also brought unplanned pleasure as recent writing about musicians led to hours of music: the latest releases from Kristofferson and Cockburn, followed by oldies by War and Harrison. Kris's reflections on approaching the end of life and Bruce's politics made me head back to simpler times and older music. At some point during freshman year, my roommate and I each chose a theme song: his was Neil Young's Southern Man, mine was War's Gypsy Man. I wasn't actually a big fan of the traveling I did even back then, though the wastefulness of it didn't cross my mind at the time, but I liked the song for the music and this line:

I'm searchin' for a brand new world
To make and call my home

I finished up with George's Living in the Material World, which was one of my favorite albums. Its repeated variations on the theme of rejecting mainstream values in favor of seeking peace, humility, wisdom, and spirituality; its expression of the frustration and pain which comes from the clash embodied in the title--back then, these made me feel empathy for both the millionaire rock star and myself.

The music still spoke to and for me, but I don't know that I've gotten much further after an extra thirty years of searchin' and seeking. The material world has gotten worse by my values and I still feel every bit as uncomfortable living in it. But sometimes, for a couple hours in the snow, with only the sound of the crow, I know how a human should be in the world, and believe that someday they will be again.

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