Many of my friends in Texas thought I was insane to move back to “snow country” after 25 years of living in the Lone Star State. There was much I loved about my home in Dallas, especially my horse and hay farm, but I missed the four seasons, the Upstate topography, and the winters. You can only take off so many clothes (in public!) to cool off, but I love wool sweaters, puffy quilted coats, and mittens. I grew up in Whitesboro, NY, outside of Utica, and the landscape and weather became a part of me. My first winter back, I wrote this poem one afternoon after returning from teaching. I had to shovel my driveway before I could get my car in (I have no garage–113-year old house–no cars back then ). But, I didn’t mind. Even at 63, (this was in 2014).
Darkness comes early to Upstate Winters.
Late afternoon, I drive home in dusk and cloud cover,
To a driveway indivisible from lawn and street.
Snow that has fallen all day and night
Lies heavy on tree branches. Shrubs
Lean low and in, help me define
The brick passageway for car
And small footsteps.
Gleaming in a glaze of ice and snow,
Everything draws my eyes up and away
From the shovel, full of snow,
So wet it clings to the black blade,
Will not let go,
Grows heavier with every push and heave
Of my arms and back.
But everywhere I look is white:
Trees, mailboxes, the porch steps,
An old outdoor grill, patio chairs,
My neighbor’s snow-arched trellis,
The garden gate,
All blanketed, all whispering,
Aren’t I beautiful,
Aren’t I beautiful.