Winter and I got off to a bad start last year. I spent much of my first New England winter waiting out four blizzards with a broken arm and wondering if I’d ever see green again. So this year? This year, I’ve been determined to enjoy, or at least appreciate, the darker months. Here’s the story of our one lone snowstorm (so far)… stay warm and look for the beauty!
Here’s to anticipation
because meteorologists are not clairvoyant.
We know that. Everyone knows that.
But we are people of plans and details
and we crave prediction, accuracy right down
to next Thursday’s temperature at 2pm.
So there’s the woman on TV
with the announcer voice,
the man with the Doppler radar
throwing out guesses and models.
The consensus is nobody knows
so go ahead, get your bread and milk.
Here’s to the week before
when every bright day is a gift
of cloudless blue and bare trees
that seem etched into
the sheer face of sky.
So deceptive when you’re indoors,
because how can the cold
be so beautiful? You run errands
without a coat, and remember
yes, there are some days
even the sun can’t thaw.
Here’s to last minute grocery lists
because the forecast is looking solid
(ish), and you don’t dare run out
of your staples: bread, milk, cans of soup
or — let’s be honest — tortilla chips and TP.
And here’s to coffee shop afternoons
and a night on the town before
the blizzard comes. Call it
Cabin Fever Prevention. ‘Cause tomorrow,
honey, you ain’t goin’ nowhere.
The sun goes down. There’s a bite
to the air, a sign of things to come.
Here’s to those first flurries
drifting silent from gathering clouds.
You can relax now, finally! It’s here.
The wind kicks flakes into drifts,
and the other side of the window
looks like television static —
gray on white on gray.
The rattling snow plows
can’t keep up,
but they’ll keep vigil
all night if they have to.
Here’s to rest.
Here’s to blankets and coffee,
good books and hot stew,
guilt-free loafing, because your work
is done. There’s nothing left to do
but wait it out.
Here’s to morning,
and peeking out the window to see
a landscape erased. Cement, cars,
cigarette butts in the gutter—
the cast-off detritus of the city
is wiped clean and white, blazing
with the glare of the sun.
Even scrawny, shivering trees
get their shot at glory,
robed in crystallized
icy splendor now.
And finally, but not least of all,
here’s to the clean-up.
Because oh, we all hate shoveling,
but look around at your neighbors
stumbling out into the daylight,
out from their hibernation,
stretching and squinting in the sun.
They pick up shovels and get to work.
And the labels between us —
friend, acquaintance, stranger —
even those are wiped clean
if only for one morning.
Jen Rose Yokel is a poet, freelance writer, and spiritual director. Her words have appeared at She Reads Truth, CCM Magazine, and other publications, and she released her first poetry collection Ruins & Kingdoms in 2015. Originally from Central Florida, she now makes her home in Fall River, Massachusetts with her husband Chris, where you can find her enjoying used bookstores and good coffee.