I was driving to Portland (Maine) today and was moved by the depth and consistency of frost everywhere, on everything. And this came to me. After the day’s events (I wrote this on December 14th), which leave me stunned, horrified, aching, desperate in my fear and grief, I feel muted, like this is the only thing I have to say.
We are told the logic of it
the process by which moist air cools, freezes,
drapes itself over plants.
But you’d think it was otherwise, that
rime so even and so evenly
distributed could not come from the whimsy
of the world. It must
emerge from the thing itself, from
a thin bitter core
osmosing outward to protect the plant,
to armor its arms before the onslaught,
the fracture, the glorious glisten.
This time, when warmth comes, they wilt into the soil.
But now, every surface bristles with glow, sculpted by chill. Surely there are not so many contact points as that; surely we do not live quite that vulnerable, exposed to the air like sores. Surely this armor must be necessary. Surely there is a purpose to this hardness, this crystalline crust: the discovery of all our touchingness, every surface an opportunity for damage, for light?