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.
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
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.