Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Friday, December 10, 2004

Early Snow (Mary Oliver)

Amazed I looked
out of the window and saw
the early snow coming down casually,
almost drifting, over
the gardens, then the gardens began
to vanish as each white, six-pointed
snowflake lay down without a sound with all
the others. I thought, how incredible
were their numbers. I thought of dried
leaves drifting spate after spate
out of the forests,
the fallen sparrows, the hairs of all our heads
as, still, the snowflakes went on pouring softly through
what had become dusk or anyway flung
a veil over the sun. And I thought
how not one looks like another
though each is exquisite, fanciful, and
falls without argument. It was now nearly
evening. Some crows landed and tried
to walk around then flew off. They were perhaps
laughing in crow talk or anyway so it seemed,
and I might have joined in, there was something
that wonderful and refreshing
about what was by then a confident white blanket
carrying out its
cheerfiul work, covering ruts, softening
the earth’s trials, but at the same time
there was some kind of almost sorrow that fell
over me. It was
the loneliness again. After all
what is Nature, it isn’t
kindness, it isn’t unkindness. And I turned
and opened the door, and still the snow poured down,
smelling of iron and the pale, vast eternal, and
there it was, whether I was ready or not:
the silence; the blank, white, glittering sublime.


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