Beauty, eh? Beauty trumps everything. Right?
I can be filled with bravado at the start of what the forecasters call a winter event. Transplanted Southerner, I wonder what it could look like this time, feel like, this snow, this cold, this play set in the air, in the clouds above me. A transformation of some kind will take place, and the heart that is ready can find wonder in that transformation.
O great winter sky!
I apostrophize in my way. I celebrate in my way. I defy anyone to bring me down, make me wary. I am its equal, humid South of my youth meeting the freezing rain on my Northern windows late in the evening.
I walk through the apartment, through certain rooms that may not yet have grown warm, radiator or no.
I imagine facing these temperatures in the simple New Orleans homes in which I grew up, the single thickness of their windows helpless against an unseasonable cold. I recall space heaters, incandescent red bars, humming in the dark of a bedroom. What if it did not end? What if this cold kept on, kept its grip, I used to wonder in my long pajamas under layers of quilts and throws.
Adult now, I trust that it will work out. How far could I really be from help, from heat, no matter what that freezing rain does overnight to front steps, to car door handles, to the slight incline of the side street where I live?
On the other hand, I am not unacquainted with the way slippery steps can ignore whatever cautious footsteps I place on surface after surface as I exit my front door. Will I make it tomorrow morning as I leave for work? Will the surprise come all the same? Will this be the place where the ache of years to come is born in hip hitting pavement, hand breaking fall, back attempting a stand without the strength it needs? How long will I lie there if I fall?
If I say it, if I name the foreboding, if I use all my powers of expression and imagination, can I make those scenarios remain distant? Can I live just for beauty a little longer? Can I apostrophize in my way? Can I celebrate in my way?
O great winter sky!