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  • Jennifer Preston Chushcoff


‘It is the first and last snows – especially the last – that blind us most,’ Thoreau once said, and I wonder what he possibly could have been thinking since snow is always with us and keeps falling in its proper season, the generations accepting it without first or last save perhaps this: There is a single snow which a child stores in his memory, the first snow when he falls in a drift, the first snow that reveals secrets like the flake on his sleeve always to be remembered because it brought knowledge of crystalline perfection, infinite diversity to be tested with his own salt tears, the immeasurable prodigality of the universal worlds in which we are lost, the first and blinding snow of childhood. Second, The view from the farm window, the last, IceCavewith the black guest waiting at the door and outside falling and falling across corn shocks wheat stubble plowland the whiteness of the void. Lucretius must so have seen his atoms, created out of them a world. A wind whipped the flakes aside, perhaps, a snow flurry that conceived a farmhouse kitchen and a stove, made fields, made animals, made men. Look, can you say I am not composed of snowflakes? My eyes are filled with them. They are falling faster now. Suppose I go outside and join them. Could you say that I was ever here? No, no. The first blindness is to see the ultimate minute perfection. SnowBabyThat is the illusion of the water drop. The second is to believe the black guest at the door. My friend, there is only the blindness of a million years of snowfall, and you and I wraiths, wraiths, discoursing as we fall. Do not bother to throw up the window, snow is already blowing the room is disassembled, our substance, the room’s substance, is snowflakes; we are falling apart now, we have re-entered the eternal storm.

Loren Eiseley


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