Storm Season

By , November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving! If you’re reading Mary Oliver’s Twelve Moons as a lunar calendar with me this year, it’s the new moon, time to read Storm.

I’ve confessed before to finessing the order of the poems a bit to suit the calendrical theme. Now, I have to admit that I made a quick change just recently, switching today’s poem for the next on the list to put the poem that mentions December in that month, and to reflect recent events around here (the original post, linked above, reflects that change now—if, by any chance you printed that schedule earlier in the year, you may want to reprint it).

This is definitely storm season in Southeast Alaska. It’s common to hear people refer to “the Columbus Day Storm” and “the Thanksgiving Day Storm,” but you have to ask which storm they’re talking about, because each town has its own big storms worth remembering, and most have several to choose from for any given date!

I recall that when I was in high school, there was a Thanksgiving storm in Wrangell. It created a willawaw that flattened a big swath of trees near town. I don’t have any clear memories of it, because I was on a school trip at the time (which makes me think it was actually the day after Thanksgiving—I don’t recall ever missing the feast for travel). In fact, I may have been on my way to Haines! That’s the “Thanksgiving Storm” I think of when I hear the term, but there are many, many others to choose from.

It looks like Thanksgiving Day’s weather will be comparatively mild for us this year, plenty cold, plenty windy, but nothing compared to the recent blizzards. I assume this is the case, as I’m pre-scheduling this post. We’ll be hiking out to feast with friends in town, and don’t really have time to be “Johnny-on-the-spot” with blog posts today.

As for the poem, this one reminds me of how I feel when I read The Tao Te Ching. I’m constantly going back and forth between thinking, “this is really profound,” and “this is really silly!” I love the last lines:

“What saves them is thinking that dying
Is only floating away into
The life of the snow.”

Lovely. And yet, if we could ask animals what they’re thinking, would they really think that—and if so, does it really help?


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