Conundrum Press

Snowstorm at Dawn: Reflections from Joseph Hutchison

February 26th, 2015  |  Published in Blog

by Joseph Hutchison, Colorado Poet LaureateSunset in winter Carpathians
from Thread of the Real

“It has snowed.”
— Francis Ponge,
Memoire d’un sojourn
à les montagnes de Colorado

Dawn seems an exaggeration: there’s a teeming dimness, a gloom or muffled glow alive with swirling palenesses. What light there is creeps up from the strangeness that yesterday was our valley, or down from where the sky must still arch over. Now and then, here and there, the scrappy swarm grows sparse and the southwestward ridgeline appears; gray-green smudges or brushstrokes emerge from the general effervescence . . . a feeble attempt at distinctness that’s quickly overcome by freshly thickening curtains of snowfall. . . .

The flakes themselves soon become weightier. They plummet, wobbling or tumbling, through the rising brightness (we understand the sun has cleared the eastward peaks); and suddenly the storm reacts . . . as when passion—anger or elation, for example—begins to give way to a not-quite-calm . . . that mildly agitated exhaustion to which we so often resign ourselves, out of which we fashion contentment. . . .

Now the storm-cloth is growing threadbare. A blue brilliance shines through in spots, then in patches. On the opposite mountain, shadows spring from the pines until each tree stands forth in relief, edged with cold fire . . . as if engraved in gold. Soon enough we notice that the storm has unraveled into shreds of mist, a frosty raggedness adrift in the valley . . . the way the mind wanders over the floating world when there’s nothing more to say.

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