I have always loved a snowstorm, and there you were,
Turning the air to flakes and flurries, in my life.
Each one so disarmingly pretty,
But cold against my skin.
I stood, face tilted upwards
While you fluttered against my eyelashes,
While you melted on my tongue
Like manna from heaven.
I stood until I could no longer see the sky above you,
clear and wide, like a sea for clouds,
Nor the tall trees,
Drawing themselves up to the height of chimneypots
I stood until the cold had made a home of me
And I had no sense any longer
Of which direction I should go.
I stood until I was frozen
And the steam from my breath
Lingered in the darkness
Like a strange mist.
I stood until I might have been a statue,
Stranded there, unmoving,
My body a cave for howling wolves and ice dragons.
When, out of the trees I could not see,
There came a great fluttering,
(A sound like the applause of tiny creatures;
Soft and silken, bold, disordered)
And the owl rose,
With a screech in its mouth and great wings opened,
Like a feathered flare rising in the stillness,
Reaching for the air and gliding on it,
Straight towards me, in a rush.
It landed on my outstretched hand,
And I held it against me
Where it’s tenderness began the thaw;
It rested its heavy, gentle head
Against my heart
And murmured there,
A stream of sounds I never knew,
That spoke above the storm
And quieted everything,
Until we were alone,
The owl and me,
In a night whose shadows
Did not scare me any longer.
The last of the snow falling, without sound or notice,
As I turned to walk away.