Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Falls Without Falling: A Deep-Morning Train of Thought

Sometimes you just stop sleeping. For no reason at all your eyes open and you're just as awake at 3:30 as you imagine you would be at 7. So you get up, climb into your clothes without turning on the lights, stumble down the hallway to the bathroom where you have a nice pee and then find the dog, who for some reason has curled up on the couch, like a cat, in a tight little ball, head to tail. After only a little persuasion you get him up and take him outside where you both discover it's snowing. While the dog buries his nose in the stuff, looking for that perfect spot, you shiver and bounce slightly on your knees. You hate this because the cold on your face and neck is nearly unbearable and will only make it that much harder to fall asleep again. Only moments ago you were tucked into bed sleeping softly, warmly under the comforter, the flannel sheets pulled up to your chin. Now here you are in the cold watching it snow, but not really. This snow is not coming from above, but from all directions–despite the lack of wind–and is so fine you can't really see it so much as feel it. You squint into the street lamp–your eyes are still sensitive to the light–and the night looks like something you see on one of those Discovery Channel specials where scientists take you below the ocean, far below the surface, to where the water turns dark and thick and all that stuff floats in it. You can only imagine what it is because they never really explain it, or even acknowledge it really, but surely it's bits of fish, meat and whatnot, and plant and microscopic motes that are designed to eat the rest of it. The snow looks like that, and the only other frame of reference you have is for those weekend afternoons when the sun is strong in the window and you stand at just such an angle so as to see all the millions of tiny bits which catch its light and float in your air. As a child it was fascinating and even called for a Catch-the-Dust game. As an adult it disgusts you and almost always results in a good vacuuming. So that is what the snow is like on this deep Tuesday morning. Have you ever even seen 3:45 on a Tuesday morning? Does the snow always fall without falling like this at this time? And why hasn't the dog finished his business? You check; he's not far away: the spot has been located and he's just starting to lean into it. You see the snow, more like mist, settle onto his back, get breathed up his nose like those afternoon dust motes. The world is silent and you can hear it, actually hear those tiny bits of ice drifting on the air around you. They don't sound like anything else except what they are. The same with the smell. Snow smells only like snow like rutabaga tastes only like rutabaga. Comparisons are pointless. Besides, the dog has finished and it's time to go inside, turn on the kettle and hope a cup of chamomile will set the night to right, help your head slip back down onto the pillow. If not, you can always write about it.

2 comments:

CJ said...

Send some soothing snow my way!

Curt Rogers said...

Believe me, I would if I could. Although I'd have to keep some for Duncan; I don't think he'd forgive me if I didn't save any for him.