Wednesday, November 7, 2012

And the snow with its whiteness...

In bed with my down comforter, listening to the wind whistling over the brick face of my building, I feel fortunate to separate from nature's angry power. Winter in New England is such a unique time. There is the one world outside, where the elements rule with all their fury. And there is another world here inside, a world of normal, simple things which we take for granted, like heat and blankets and curtains. Such a curiosity, that there should be such a difference between the worlds- one is nothing like the other.
Look out my window, and all that can be see is white. Even the roads show only a smudge of muted grey down the middle. There is snow carpeting the fallen leaves, snow up above on ledges and branches, and even the air is still filled with snow, whipping back and forth as if trying to fill up that space also. It's easy to imagine, 50 years ago, why people scoffed at the idea of tectonic plates, landing on the moon, global warming. Nature seems so big and overwhelming, so ubiquitous and all-encompassing, that it must be infallible. Just think of trying to travel in the snow before plows and cars.... it would seem outrageous to think of moving the volume of snow that plows now remove (and trucks sometimes further remove) from the roads.
The vast power and strength of nature are not only intimidating though. In its grandness, nature is also reassuring. It is something bigger than ourselves. Uncontrollable and unstoppable, we think that it must prevail no matter what mistakes we make. That even after a disaster, errors will be hidden until so much snow.
This is exactly why we must protect it; to remind us that there is something bigger than ourselves; and perhaps, also that even the biggest, strongest, most wild beast sometimes faces a fight where it might not triumph.

Tonight is exactly the kind of night I imagine it being when Meg Murry hears a wind in the door.

“At Tara in this fateful hour,
I place all Heaven with its power,
And the sun with its brightness,
And the snow with its whiteness,
And the fire with all the strength it hath,
And the lightning with its rapid wrath,
And the winds with their swiftness along their path,
And the sea with its deepness,
And the rocks with their steepness,
And the earth with its starkness:
All these I place,
By God's almighty help and grace
Between myself and the powers of darkness.”

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