Stay strong, snow car

More than a week after the last big snowstorm, one car in the lot out front remains encased in snow. It is fantastic. All the other cars come and go all day. They have pavement beneath them and look normally parked. But snow car remains, a lone ice cube. Hibernating til spring? Putting belief in thaw before belief in shovel? A raised fist vs. winter?

Imagining snowstorms past by means of snowstorms present

My dad’s photos Saturday bring consideration of the greatest D.C. snows of my life. Below, welcome to the fam’s front and back yards.

February 1983. I obviously recall nothing, but photo albums show brother Rob, three months old, and I propped up in the alley behind our apartment building. If I am remembering the albums correctly.

January 1987. We get back-to-back snowstorms totaling more 21″. My dad moves my Playskool playhouse to the front yard, and the family turns it into a snow fort. The pictures in the albums show more, but all I remember is how the snow had awesomely consumed my world. This aftermath the single greatest snow-affected moment of my youth.

January 1996. The single worst snow-affected moment of youth. Amid the blizzard, Gonzaga is one of the few high schools not to cancel the school week outright. The week happens to be finals week. So, every day of the week, the fourth biggest snowstorm in city history, exams threaten to come the next day. Fourth biggest storm, greatest killjoy.

February 2003. I’m in Atlanta and wish the snow would happen there.

December 2009, January 2010. First D.C. winter with two 15″ storms.

Whether you’re here, on Fb or on Twitter, share your snow history…

Three oddly suitable songs for a blizzard

Rocket Love, from Stevie Wonder’s 1980 Hotter than July album. Sweat! “You took me riding in your rocket, gave me a star, but at a half a mile from heaven, you dropped me back down to this cold, cold world…”

The Harder They Come, Jimmy Cliff, for warmth and justice. “So as sure as the sun will shine, I’m gonna get my share now of what’s mine…”

Lovers in the Cold, Springsteen Born to Run outtake. “Tonight we’re lovers on that road, oh-oh-oh, running past the graveyards in the snow, oh-oh-oh, walking in the street with nowhere to go, oh-oh-oh…”

Pix: The snowstorm before the snowstorm at the end of the world

Mid-week snowfall. So much snow on the trees! So little on the roads!

The morning after the storm, we could each travel where we wished!

We could even think of stopping at the Key Bridge’s new crepe cart!

The sky was gray but was not falling, and the world was open to us. 

The world was peaceful before the snowstorm at the end of the world.

Snow poem

Yet another snowstorm lolls about the region tonight. I’m in search of peace. Not desperately searching, but seeking peace more than sleep.

A win from late tonight has been finding the Poetry Foundation “Poem of the Day” RSS feed because there’s one about snow. “The Snow Is Deep on the Ground” comes from Kenneth Patchen in 1943. I know of him only what I’ve read tonight, but he sounds like a different kind of poet. Elsewhere on the site, a quote recalls a book of Patchen’s poetry “printed with wild typography. Many of the pages had really big words and letters — perhaps there were pages written in all caps?”

Elsewhere on the Web, a quote of Patchen’s talks about his painted poems. “It happens that very often my writing with pen is interrupted by my writing with brush, but I think of both as writing. In other words, I don’t consider myself a painter. I think of myself as someone who has used the medium of painting in an attempt to extend.”

And his friend Henry Miller says of those artworks, “One is no longer looking at a dead, printed book but at something alive and breathing, something which looks back at you with equal astonishment.”

I get the feeling Patchen wouldn’t mind if I copied him into a blog.

The Snow Is Deep on the Ground

BY KENNETH PATCHEN

The snow is deep on the ground.
Always the light falls
Softly down on the hair of my belovèd.

This is a good world.
The war has failed.
God shall not forget us.
Who made the snow waits where love is.

Only a few go mad.
The sky moves in its whiteness
Like the withered hand of an old king.
God shall not forget us.
Who made the sky knows of our love.

The snow is beautiful on the ground.
And always the lights of heaven glow
Softly down on the hair of my belovèd.