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Wednesday
Jan102007

Things That Fall from the Sky*

Back in Ohio, in December. It was still warm, and the rest of my family was busy with their million endeavors, so I took a walk through the woods along the ravine behind our house. The woods eventually lead to a park, empty apart from the solitary swingset. There was nothing to do but try it out. It did me a world of good to remind myself that I'd never forgotten how to pump my legs to go higher. Feet pointing to the sky. The sensation of my stomach rising and falling in my insides pushed out the sound of a laugh I hadn't heard since I was very, very young. The only thing I had forgotten was how to stop. And I was too scared to jump. So I just kept pumping my legs, higher and higher, falling up into and out of the sky, the smell of iron on my hands from the chains...

*

In New York, today. Had a nightmare last night involving a jumbo jet skidding its tail into the earth. The jet then swung its nose around and grabbed its injured tail before morphing into an alien robot holding hundreds of human-shaped aliens (all wearing very midwestern clothes) in its claws. When it released them, they scattered like silverfish across the ground and came skittering towards our window, which we quickly shut, huddling inside. The nightmare is incidental; I only mention it because it foretold ominous things approaching in the sky. And today there was something ominous and beautiful, something that made me giddy: snow.

We have had the most lukewarm winter - deeply unsatisfying, in spite of the weather affording us one blissful 70 degree day of light jackets. Even on that day, the beast of winter stooped over us, making sure no one felt entirely comfortable with the prospect of eating outdoors in New York in January. Everyone walked around looking at the sky, as if they suspected some sort of instant change, a weather conspiracy, the wrath of the gods. An alien invasion. This can't be right. And it wasn't. Winter means scarves, mittens, hot chocolate, snow.

This morning, as I sat in my office contemplating the best way to start eating my elaborately constructed chocolate & almond croissant, I looked out the window and noticed a dark, smoke-like mist moving up and across the Hudson. And I whispered: "snow!" I ran from office to office calling out to others: "I think it's snow!" We waited, watching its ominous approach. And then, though the weathermen and women of New York City had predicted no such thing, minutes later, we watched as the first few flakes went skittering through the sky, like silverfish.

*To borrow a title from Kevin Brockmeier

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