Saturday, April 10, 2010

Snow Days, Poe Days

In "The Land of the Blue Sky" it is a particularly strange phenomenon when the heavens are anything but clear. I can remember only a handful of days that stick out in my mind as particularly cloudy. Though the rest of my time melts into one sunny blur, those days are left standing apart from the rest, differentiating themselves through uniqueness of color and atmosphere. Normally the sky is larger than life, a huge blue dome as big as it could possibly be. But on those rare cloudy days it becomes a blanket that hangs over the world. Then the sky seems to hug all of nature's inhabitants closer to the earth, least we tumble out into space. The world gets smaller when the clouds hang low and walking through the square I can no longer see the giant mountain that presides nobly over our little town. My focus is taken inward and the universe shrinks. It feels like our town is the only one in the world; nothing exists beyond the fog. I am used to snow and rainy weather, of course. In America I lived in Atlanta, home of the violent but inexplicably sexy summer thunderstorms that occur almost daily, and Baltimore, a place where 'clouds lour'd upon our house' most of the autumn and winter. But here it is different. Somehow when the weather is dark it has a distinct ring of Edgar Allen Poe. A resident of my latter American stomping ground, I feel his presence when it is cloudy here most of all. I think of him more in Hovd than I ever gave notice to him in Baltimore. Perhaps it has to do with the huge birds that inhabit our town. During the winter, enormous crows monopolized the skies. Huge and sleek, I feel as if Edgar Allen would crane his neck from the grave to get a good look at these magnificent ravens. The trees are completely naked and skinny, they stretching their arms towards the gray sky and this is where these birds sit, ominously surveying the land from the very highest reaches of the branches. Against the backdrop of the looming sky, it is enough to make one shudder involuntary, feeling the presence of Poe. I swear if you listen closely you can her them say "Nevermore!". Now the birds that have moved in are enormous birds of prey. I am not quite sure what they are but they have banished the crows until next winter. Now, when the sky is dark, the huge birds block out the remaining sunlight, circling some poor rodent victim. They dominate the 'brave o'erhanging firmament' completely. Though it is duly spooky and a little strange to face such weather after days and days of sunshine, at these times I find my muscles unwinding and my shoulders relaxing. It is as if the air was pushing my shoulders down and easing my mind. It is as if, with phantom fingers, Poe himself is giving me a massage. So even though Easter has come and gone and the rest of the world is sprouting daises by the bunches, I don't mind that it's still snowing here. Two days ago, the gray clouds took up residency and dumped a thick powder of snow over everything. I was outside when it started and it was unspeakably beautiful. We normally don't get snow, as it is too cold for any sort of precipitation much of the time. So when the clouds opened up, University students in the square lifted their hands up in front of their faces and declared how beautiful the flurry was. And little girls skipped through apartment courtyards, holding hands and singing "snow! snow! snow!". It seemed that, though everyone is yearning for spring, the clouds brought happiness in it's stead. I stood in the crisp air and breathed deep, appreciating flakes falling from the dark sky. Poe would have been proud.

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