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· Returned from California Sun to Washington Snow ·

I've just returned home to what the romantic poets have sometimes styled the "fierce art" of a hard snow storm. After driving from Washington to California and back, I pulled into my garage late Saturday night with renewed respect for John Keats' old weather line, "O for a beaker full of the warm South."

Naturally, San Diego was everything I had hoped for, sunny days spent partially out-of-doors, romantic street-side dining on each of three nights there, and MLA sessions graced indoors with sparkling, occasionally stilted, literary wit and wisdom. The Modern Language Association chose well its 2003 Convention.

But 2004 has already begun with a blast of frigid air here, an icy spirit having bumped my three classes back two days now and making me think (bundled up in my fleece and Merino wool) only of Emerson's romantically compensatory take on

The Snow-Storm

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden's end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

Though I like Emerson's point, sometimes I'd rather have Percy Bysshe Shelley's more famous line, one riding on the prophetic spirit of a single thought trumpeted at the end of Ode to the West Wind:

If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

At least I'm glad to announce (from the local TV news) a warming wind now rising from the far South Pacific.

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It makes me happy to hear that somebody has made the most of the California sunshine, but to return to the snow-blown Northwest is somewhat of another matter. Thanks to the snow showers I have memories of my home land and how the holidays felt when I was a mere slip of a youth, even down to the "snow days" we received. They remind me of a quote from Henry Rollins' book Solipsist, "Bring on the darkest coldest months of winter, the season for heroes and gods." Thanks for philosophy class. I did enjoy it a lot.

Posted by philip krnotch on January 7, 2004 05:43 PM


For heroes and gods, indeed! No Roman gods, though; just Nordic ones.

Posted by Demos Nuova on January 8, 2004 04:12 PM


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