Tuesday, May 24, 2011
It was a rough weekend. I needed to get away. It was 82 degrees, and though it had rained earlier, the sun beat down hard and bright on the railroad tracks. We walked on the sparkling granite gravel, the track tar sticky on my sneakers, and my hair falling in sweaty lank locks on my forehead. There were 80s coming of age movie references made. Through the maze of warehouses we followed the tracks, until we came upon the cave.
It was a shallow cave, but dark. The dock had been unused for as long as it took the tracks to grow a coat of rust. As we wandered past, I spotted snow and stopped, piled up dirty all through the cave entrance, like it always is at the end of March, half melted. The way you see it in parking lots, where it used to be mountainous in January. Only it's mostly June now, and I was sweating through my tshirt. So what the fuck.
You couldn't believe it just looking at it. Just looking at it, it was so much real snow it was unbelievable that it could exist. It inspired a feeling of something being wrong with the world, as if one day you woke up and the sky was green all the way through. Or water was suddenly red. Or maybe more like if you looked in the mirror and there was a bright lilac purple blotch on your face. I was almost scared of it, I'll admit it. I stopped feet away, trying to figure out any other sort of explanation for what it what could be, all the other things maybe, all the reasons I shouldn't touch it, should stay away from it.
But then you put your fingers on it, actually feel it, and the world snapped back to reality, the axis suddenly centered again, and I was touching a rock. Fossilized snow. When I took my hands off it, it became snow again. When I touched it again, rock. Back and forth. Drifts of snow. Salt boulders. Blizzard remnants from another world, from another decade.
Jere thought maybe perhaps the snow had fallen through the dock, and then crystallized? All calcite and salt. How long had it been there then, how to even tell? A brand new fucking geology. Melissa carved her initials in it, and broke off a chip of it for me, which was harder than it looked because it was a rock. We kicked it and the impact on our feet was shocking, because you expected that crunch and give, not this unmovable unbreakable coral. I have it in my pocket now, that tiny little piece. I think maybe if I always keep this magic snow chip on me, it will act like a talisman against snow in my future? Like, you wear the shark tooth or the bear claw to protect against the predator, to channel the spirit of the hunter? Well I believe this, the magic snow, it will stop the snow from every coming back near me, protect me while I sleep, make every morning sunny and warm. Or at the very least, protect my car from sliding off the road or the ice from freezing my locks or me from falling on the unshoveled walk. All those things I have already successfully forgotten only a month later and want to never remember again.
You can choose to see your world how you want it to be, or you can put faith in the fact that the universe has a better imagination than you.