Thursday, March 3, 2011

London in March

That's Jack London, and March in Vermont.  I remembered a passage from "To Build a Fire" as I walked the land this morning, when the temperature ascended as far as zero degrees, and cloudless sky seemed to devour every shred of the Earth's little warmth:

 The cold of space smote the unprotected tip of the planet, and he, being on that unprotected tip, received the full force of the blow.
Although we're not that high up, it's still a powerful image: our little homestead being struck by the cold behind the sky.

It is March, and in theory spring lies not too far away.  But it is a hard thing to bear in mind, as a frozen snowpack entirely mediates us from the earth's surface, like shoes separating bare feet from ground.  It is not a time of buds nor incipient green.  All of that is conceptual, residing in a theory of latency.

And yet I saw dirt.  One of our woodpiles is bracketed by two trees on a sharp slope, and hence gets some weird wind effects.   Its leeward side retains very little snow.  So just behind the stack, under a protective tarp, lies several square inches of autumnal soil.  The dirt is frozen, of course, and seems about to be smothered by the cubic yards of snow just next to it.  When we clear the woodpile, the next gusts will carry snow across it, reminding the Earth of just what time of year it is.


tubaplayer said...

Completely off the topic of the blog, but I have to say that this blog entry is some of the nicest prose that I have read in a long time!

Bryan's workshop blog said...

Thank you, nice tubaplayer.