Saturday, January 7, 2017

Ice Blossoms

The obligatory snow selfie. I feel impelled
to watch The Shining.

A nice big snowfall last night and this morning. So far, it's one of those where it's just snow, rather than that god-awful mix of snow and ice that takes out the power, which is what we more frequently get around here.

Here's a semi-random snow story from way back when....

After graduating from UGA in December 1981, I spent a little over a year in Martinsville, trying to make enough money to move to Chicago, which I eventually did, mostly by selling my artwork and teaching art. All the while, I entertained myself and tortured others by playing guitar, singing, and writing original music (I still occasionally torture others with this very endeavor; in fact, next Friday, 1/13/17, I'll be playing at The Daily Grind in Martinsville). It was one night in either late '82 or early '83 when we had a pretty big snowfall, and I went out walking in the neighborhood, and by the time I got back home, many hours later, I had the lyrics to a new song, called "Ice Blossoms," composed in my head. It's about freezing to death, and I plan to play it at The Daily Grind next week.

At the time, my brother, Phred, was seeing a young lady named Leslie, and earlier that evening he'd driven up to her house, a mile or so away. I decided to take a walk in that general direction, figuring that I'd eventually run into him on his way home, and he could give me a ride back. Well, I got as far as the corner of her street, and he still hadn't left, so, being the adventurous soul I was (and still strive to be), I found myself a tall tree that offered a good view of the neighborhood and climbed up it — way up it, figuring I'd be able to spot my brother's car coming well in advance.

I sat up in that tree for at least an hour, freezing my hind end off, eventually questioning the wisdom of my decision and wondering whether I should just get down and walk back home.

No. No, no. I sat up there well into the wee hours, at least partially bolstered by select botanical compounds I'd had the foresight to bring with me. By the time I finally saw my brother's car coming, I had the following lyrics firmly in my head, and the accompanying music written by the next afternoon.

Ice Blossoms
Wind in your hair, the snow in your eyes,
Feeling the chill of a cold winter's night.
Breathing the air brought by winds of the north,
Ice blossoms blooming forever.

Clear songs from forests a-glaze under ice,
Joining the spirits who dance in the night,
Who call to you in a crystal clear voice,
Reaching your soul from the nether.

Snowfall soft, open your eyes aloft,
You feel no cold, no pain. Open your eyes again.
There is no fear of the night, only hope inside.
There is a song calling you, so strong.

Then, in the sky, colors dance, glowing bright.
And your lifeline's gone. Spirits howl their song.
Colors bright.

Ice blossoms blooming in cold morning light.
Forests breathe songs that arise to the sky.
Standing alone torn by winds of the north,
Silently brooding forever.

Eyes dead and glazed under snowfall so fine,
Hands clutching nothing thrown wild at your sides.
Spirit has gone with your brothers of ice,
Singing your sad song forever.

Fortunately, I didn't freeze to death, but I was probably as close to hypothermia as I've ever come. Mighty cold in that tree, I was.

Today's snow, so far, has been pretty, and I took an enjoyable mile-long walk through the neighborhood this morning while it was still coming down. Currently, there's about nine inches of accumulation. No ice blossoms.

"Ice Blossoms," ©1982, 2017, by Stephen Mark Rainey

The homestead as the snow falls
L: devilish hoofprints leading to my back door? R: Corner of Martin Ave. and Wilcox Dr.
I had never noticed there was a little footbridge — now half-collapsed — over a stream,
a short distance down the street
A little hidden glen near Martin Ave.
Heading north on Martin Ave., toward Pine Needle Dr.

1 comment:

James Robert Smith said...

For some reason I read that line..."he'd driven up to her nose". Had to read it twice. And I haven't had anything stronger than water today.

Your recollection reminds of a verse I once wrote. It goes like this:

"Once I knew a nice young man,
Who crafted lines of rhyme.

So I beat his ass and kicked him
in the head."

Oh. Wait a minute. That's not a verse. That really happened.