Friday, July 28, 2006
w h i t e o u t
The first flakes you brush off. The white line down the center of old Seneca Turnpike. A stray fleck caught in your headlights. You try the high beams. Worse. You flip on the wipers but it is too dry and you get a fartlike scape in reply. A swirl of white eddies by and dervishes off to the side by the snow-brushed tattered cornstalks of Amidon's farm that now seem so old and ancient. Silent witnesses to this quick passing of a 1966 Olds Toronado at 3:30 a.m. The bars are closed. At least The Library is. You overdid it. Again. You promised. You at least promised yourself. Once again. What a phony drama it was. You knew she'd be there. It was a cliche'd scene from a dull movie on a Sunday afternoon, one you started to watch but lost track of, drifting in and out of a nap. The sterile crescent you saw lighting the fields just a few moments ago is already half-covered by a dark cloud swiftly moving. You can feel the temperature drop and turn on the defrost blower. A shadow against the tree line. The burst of lake-effect is startling, almost as dramatic as the time it was accompanied by thunder and lightning. You turn the wipers to the max. FWACK / KUMP. FWACK / KULMP. FRARCK / UMP. High beams. The fury of flakes is merely magnetized like a billion albino fireflies of August. You told yourself you should have left hours ago. You can feel the ever slight slip of traction. You lower the beams again and the onslaught is more pointillist, more granular. A snowswept gust pushes the car forward ahead of its own speed. You roll down a window. Snow rushes in and quickly sticks to your beard. You close the window. It never occurs to you to slow down or ease to the right, edging for the gravelly berm. Your only faith is in this very blindness. And you just can't help comparing this blaring night to a July noon that makes you squint so hard you see an electric blue. And the papery thirst that comes with it.