Last Sunday brought the first true snowfall to our region of Western Pennsylvania. I came outside to find my younger sons flitting about the driveway, mouths open wide, chasing the elusive snowflakes. In all honesty, they didn’t have to try that hard. The air was aflutter with crystalline moths; our tongues, the warm branches upon which they came to rest. I confess, I caught my share as well.
It was a wet snow, not conducive to sledding, but ideal for snowmen and snowball fights. Theo and Sam quickly changed into snow attire and began shoveling paths all over the lawn with Aidan’s help, erecting a sledding mound in the middle of the yard – an investment for future days. (Sadly, by midweek, the weather took a turn towards the sixties, great for disc golfing but bad for snow mounds.) I kept to the house, having bills and budgets to manage. But my heart kept drifting to the kids outside.
A moment to deepen beckoned me. Though I did not end up throwing a single snowball, nor did I aid in the packing of the snow mound, I did engage the moment in the poem below. The first stanza focuses on my children before shifting to myself in the second stanza. Note how the imagery of the first stanza returns, in reverse, in the second. Also, initially the line “I, too, live in the flood-light,” read, “Like Noah, I, too, live in the flood-light.” Although I struck the allusion from the final draft, the sense of living in the days of Noah still feels ever so real at times. But there’s an ark prepared, and moments like these remind me that hope endures.
Vincent H. Anastasi - 2021 The first snow falls slow and thick; intricate, delicate frozen down descends in gossamer clumps large enough to register their fleeting touch on tongues eager to receive. No need to struggle or strive; stationary, one harvests enough to sample winter's frigid first-fruits. Now sleds and shovels supplant bikes and mowers. The children plow labyrinths on the lawn and sculpt ramps from wet snow mounds, investment in future days unsure, their evening illuminated by floodlight. I, too, live in the flood-light; I, too, raise unsure structures laid in faith, seeking passage through life's labyrinths, trading sorrows for unspeakable joy. Yet ever running to stand still, enduring struggle to surpass survival, my heart's ever ready to receive the bread of heaven descending, intimate, sacred, nourishing life in the midst of winter's first snowfall.