SNOWFLAKES

Enormous flakes gracefully float

from a heavy, opaque sky

like snowbird feathers, weightless,

falling without direction.

Wondering if each designer flake drops

randomly into place, or is destined

as a specific pattern, a design,

like a secret message

yet to decipher

before they self-destruct?

Snowy mountains grow ever-taller,

hour after hour, delicately

accumulating flake by flake.

Mountain trails whizz past skis,

boards with finely tuned edges,

slicing to turn left or right,

riding moguls with knees bent,

flexing in the sunshine.

Somewhere, snowshoes lift and

drop, lift and drop on rabbit run trails.

Each labored step an exhilarating

consciousness of moving forward

through virgin tufted mounds, alongside

cross country skiers gliding

through their shiny, ridged tracks.

Cul-de-sac neighborhoods

appear as animated carousels.

Unique and colorful shovels bob up

and down, up and down,

snowballs tumbling off the sides

with each shovel full.

Dig in, toss up, grunt,

sweating with each new load

of frosty white-ness.

A single shovel flashes luminous

as it rises, only to be met

by a gust of wind, dispersing the load

backward in an ever-widening spray.

Each wondrous flake arrives individually,

like a chain of chromosomes connecting

one to the other, building something huge,

more imposing than a single perfect flake,

begging for swift removal or better still,

melting into a puddle on a warmer day.

Flakes float down from the sky,

providing wooly coats over

rooftops and trees,

blanketing the earth in winter calm,

soundproofing civilization from itself,

forcing total slowdown, adjusting the pace

of life for just a few short, winter days.

City snow-farm at the end

of the Portland Jetport grew so tall

it caused havoc on incoming radar,

disrupting outgoing planes for two weeks,

creating a TV news sensation.

Layered crystalline flakes,

weightless pillow stuffing,

create issues when heaved

into unauthorized plots.

On-street parking, routine traffic

nearly impassible, challenging

maneuverability for residents

and visitors of Portland and beyond,

into an entirely frozen Maine.

Anxious drivers careen out of control,

endangering others driving

unpredictably mindless,

convinced of their entitled ways,

across icy, treacherous streets

where they claim sole ownership.

Parked vehicles, engulfed in white fluff,

line sidewalks like bumpers edging paved streets.

Side streets in New England cities,

single-file footpaths now, straight down the center

where the lines lay hidden, frozen beneath an icy film.

Working twelve-hour shifts, armies

of municipal, state plow operators nod off

at the wheel, attempting to remove mounds

of flakes covering city streets and highways.

Sleepless nights become passé,

“winter of 2015 stories,” heard long after

the plow drivers receive a paycheck

for their Olympian efforts.

Evergreen trees along I-295 highway

stand as proud as exotic models,

straight and tall, displaying new fashions,

glittering diamond icicles,

thick puffy-coats on their runway.”

Perennial gardens now tucked

below warm mulch of rusty pine needles,

under their snowy coverlets,

precious roots awakened only

by warm spring sunshine.

Small trees appear on the forest floor,

a display of shrink-wrapped gifts.

Evidence of life today, telltale trails

of turkey jerkey-walk tracks from

telescoping their necks, struggling

to reach bird feeders.

Energetic squirrels, jumping from branch

to tree trunk, leaving mysterious

dead ends or erratic trails to follow.

Rabbits, porcupines, raccoons, and deer

struggle through deep marshmallow snowdrifts,

crossing above a hidden fern-green

forest floor, pausing intermittently

in search of winter food for their families.

Songbirds join pileated woodpeckers

hammering away at fat blocks of frozen suet.

Those beaks cannot be brittle!

A delight to catch a glimpse of the

velvety red fox darting through a tornado

of glittering snowflakes, lush furry coat

ruffling against the frigid winter wind.

Beauty and wonder, not on display

in a gallery or on exhibition anywhere,

exposed for nature lovers who appreciate

Mother Nature’s art.

A smile at the crack of dawn, standing alone

as a sparse sliver of salmon and fuchsia

color the horizon, blazing through the forest,

casting rainbow shadows against the wide oaks,

not warm enough to be effective in melting

one small flake of pearly snowbanks

outside my windows.

People assemble in groups, bonding

in public places to complain about “the weather.”

I see only the wonder of Mother Nature.

Today I celebrate the two hours

of sweaty shoveling with a cool shower

and a hot cup of tea.

A deep, satisfied breath of solitude,

exhausted, I return to the warmth

of my leather sofa.

Moments to reflect on Mother’s artwork,

delighted to become an actor in

another spectacular production,

as unique as an individual snowflake.

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