Snowbound

There seems to be an inordinate amount of snow in the United States at present.

Not just in places where snow in late December is Normal—like, say, Buffalo, New York, or Icepick, Minnesota. Oh no.

For it is also besieging joints like Atlanta, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, a couple of burgs where the white stuff has not put in an appearance since the 1880s—when, some say, God decided to send down snow in order to Punish People for abandoning Reconstruction (there in Genesis, The Dude promised never again to wash the world away in water, but he never said nothin’ ’bout sending snow; the guy is all about loopholes; methinks he’s a lawyer).

All day my radio has been asquawk with the sounds of half a million people marooned there up and down the Eastern seaboard, loudly expressing their displeasure, unable to get back to from where they came. For having journeyed for the holidays by plane and train and automobile to places now buried in the Snow Zone, they cannot, at present, Escape.

Heart attacks are also marching across the land. For my radio also informed me today that catastrophic cardiac events peak in the US each year around this time, as people leave tables groaning with food and wine, and television sets bellowing about men quarreling over balls, to go out and vigorously shovel snow—an activity to which their hearts say: “no.” Seems the heart must work harder to pump blood through the arms, than through the legs, and so when folks get jiggy with the shovel, Danger Lurks. This is especially true of this sort of snow, heavy snow, which appears to be known in the medical and meteorological communities as “heart-attack snow.”

I find this interesting, that the heart is less stressed in sending blood to the legs, than to the arms. I guess this settles the old Lizard Brain question of “fight or flight”: the heart votes for “flight.”

There are people who seek to blame Burning Man for this snowblind phenomena. And perhaps there is some truth in that, because the fellow has been unusually not-present over the past several days. It is possible that, abashed, he has gone into hiding.

However, as with most things, where there is bad, there is also good. So as counterpoint to the suffering that has come with this snow, I offer snow in the realm of pleasure. Specifically, a very nice snow poem authored by my daughter, the deviant. Make that the award-winning deviant.

In scrutinizing the fine print on the page where she has posted this poem, I find that in reproducing her work here, I may be treading upon her copyright. That’s okay. She’s welcome to sue. And, when she prevails, if I can’t come up with the necessary monetary damages, I’ll make up the rest by signing on to forever-after shovel clear her path.

Snow White Queen

First snow falls, a beautiful sight
white like you, but never as bright
soft and powdery, fresh and new
but nothing could ever be soft as you

Delicate, dancing, a graceful ballet
though never as graceful as you, I say
fascinated, you watch it fall
slowly cascading to cover all

Tiny paw prints in the snow
sparkle with enchanted glow
shivering paws, wet and cold
I warned you love, yes you were told

But you love to see the world covered in white
white like you, but never as bright

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21 Responses to “Snowbound”


  1. 1 Julia Rain (the daughter) December 27, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Poor snowed-in people. This one missed us. We had a huge storm last year, of course, but nothing bad enough to shut down the airports.

    God punishing the world by snow? Reminds me of an idiot in Congress who said global warming can’t be real because God said he would never again send a flood to wipe out humanity. Of course, Global Warming involves much more than floods, but this was lost on the man, clearly. It would be funny if it wasn’t true.

    I imagine the heart would vote for flight. Flight gives it (and you) a better chance of survival.

    Is is snowing in Southern California yet? Because I saw a Yahoo headline the other day about tornado warnings there, which means that now, aside from blizzards and typhoons (which are probably next), Southern California has every kind of weather catastrophe known to man. Volcanoes aren’t weather so I suppose they don’t count. But Southern California has had floods, mudslides, fires, earthquakes and now possibly tornadoes. Plus, you know, the stroke-inducing never-ending summers.

    You didn’t really violate my copyright, because you told me you posted it. I don’t mind at all. I’m just glad you liked it. But do you think people realize it’s about my cat without the picture? I hope so. And no shoveling snow for you!

    • 2 bluenred December 28, 2010 at 12:08 am

      I didn’t say the poem was about your cat because I didn’t want to limit it. I wanted people to be able to understand it in whatever way came to them. I, for instance, didn’t know it was about your cat until after I’d read it; I got a whole different meaning from it. This is one of the reasons artists are often very reluctant to discuss the sources or meaning of their works, and why when artists do discuss the sources or meaning of their works, people are often disappointed—what, that’s all it is?

      Van Morrison, for instance, has insisted for decades that he has no idea what “Cypress Avenue” is about—it “just came to him.” Now, the latter may be true, but the former is pure bollocks. He knows it’s bollocks, and he knows we know it’s bollocks. But he also knows it’s better to just let the song speak for itself.

      I don’t think they Allow snow in southern California, even in periods of Extreme Weirdness. The next time my neighbor, Burning Man, goes out to start one of his fires, though, I’ll ask him.

      Glad the Big Blow of Christmas 2010 passed you by.

      No snow here, so no shoveling for me. I’d have to actually go find a shovel, first, before I could do any shoveling. In any event, I doubt I’d blow a valve. The pump situation here is a sort of variation on what was said of Kurtz: “His mind is clear, but his soul is mad.” ; )

      Yahweh digs loopholes. If he buried the world in snow he could say, quite correctly, that it wasn’t a “flood,” and therefore he didn’t violate the promise of the rainbow. It is said that the next time he gets Grumpy, he will come in “the fire next time.” But that vision was vouchsafed to a guy very high on hashish, St. John of The Rock. So it’s hard to know how much faith to put into it.

      • 3 Julia Rain (the daughter) December 28, 2010 at 12:23 am

        Ah, I see. Yes, there’s another piece I wrote recently, a six word story, in fact, and I thought about changing the title so as to broaden the meaning. I like people to be able to come up with their own ideas, because it helps them identify more with the work.

        One of my favorite bands, AFI (whom I believe you Christened “Beelzebub’s Great Jihad”), have wonderful, amazingly dense lyrics (so much so that their website actually has a huge glossary full of words like “resplendent”, “omnipotence”, “pantomime” and “rapturous”), and so they insist on leaving their lyrics open-ended. This has led many people to think that they are devil-worshipers, especially when they come out with songs called “The Initiation” with lines such as “nothing from nowhere I’m no one at all, ready to recognize one silent call, as we all form one dark flame”. But I think that’s bollocks. Satanism is WAY too simple an explanation. But anyway, point is they came out with a song called “Days of The Phoenix”, which I think may be the fan-favorite, and the general consensus for a long time was that it was about ancient ritual. Turns out, “The Phoenix” is a club in San Francisco and the song is about the bands’ feelings about being on the cusp of stardom, a place they’d never be again. So fans were disappointed. Not me, though. It opened up the song for me. Now I interpret it as using the metaphors of longing for other times (be they ancient or no) as a stand-in for just feeling that something is missing, that some time is lost. So I’m usually in the camp of wanting to know the interpretation, because I’ll just make my own anyway. Maybe that’s because I’m an artist and so I understand that artists want you to come up with your own interpretation anyway, because that’s a huge part of what art is.

        Anyway. Honestly, when I write poems, most of the time I don’t set out to write anything specific. Lines jut come to me, and I write them because they sound good, and then eventually I figure out what they actually mean.

        Well, when the snow melted, it would become a flood. But of course by then everybody would be dead. Loophole indeed.

        • 4 bluenred December 30, 2010 at 8:34 pm

          I remember Beelzebub’s Great Jihad. You still listening to that debbil music? I think the last time you played it for me, as soon as you left, I had to rush down to the chapel, and light two rows of candles before the Mary statue. ; )

    • 5 possum December 28, 2010 at 3:50 am

      Love that poem. The imagery is beautiful. The animal part I got. Not a cat but an animal for sure. Keep up the good work.

      Sorry I have missed the last of your book. A tome about SCOTUS has driven me to near distraction as I make a run to the finish. Your tale is bookmarked for a return one day.

      Happy New Year to you and yours.

  2. 8 possum December 28, 2010 at 3:49 am

    The business of the heart pumping easier to the legs is interesting. Gravity must have some part to play in that equation but your theory of fight or flight works just fine.

    Possum Valley got grazed by the recent storm. Farther south was even worse. We dug out before noon and went to the movie in the afternoon. Not such a bad deal for us. More will be coming in time but for now we were lucky. And no heart attacks in the neighborhood either.

    Copyright is another of those interesting topics in the world today. One of the mega-corps with too many attorneys on the staff is trying to make a case for even linking to a piece a violation. That is nuts but the world seems more geared to the nut cases these days. The media loves nothing more than a crazy to sell more media.

    • 9 bluenred December 28, 2010 at 11:34 am

      I thought about gravity, too. But the blood that goes down to the legs also has to come back up. Plus, legs are bigger than arms, so there’s more acreage through which to pump blood.

      Glad you were only grazed, there in the valley.

      • 10 possum December 28, 2010 at 12:21 pm

        Your thinking is very reasonable but likely wrong. When blood returns to the heart according to the physiologists the muscle contraction in the limbs does the work of pushing blood upward. Then valves in the veins stop the backward flow. The heart is aided by gravity in getting blood to the lower extremities.

        When standing muscles of the lower limbs constantly contract and relax offering the pressure needed to move blood toward the heart.

        Long ago I read the heart works less hard when one is sitting than when lying down. Can’t find that again.

        The whole issue of that function is truly an interesting one. 🙂

        • 11 bluenred December 28, 2010 at 3:49 pm

          You’re the doc, Professor Possum, so thank you for correcting me on the return-action of blood from the legs. ; )

          And I believe you on the sitting vs. lying thing, because I recently read that those with congestive heart failure sometimes have to sleep sitting up, rather than lying down.

          I think the way to test whether it’s gravity alone that explains why the heart is less stressed pumping blood to the legs, rather than the arms, is to perform an experiment in which a group of people are required to live upside down. That is, each person in this group must at all times keep his/her feet elevated above the head. These people will be required to stand/walk/stroll/run on their hands, and when they “sit,” their heads shall touch the ground, with their feet occupying the usual “head rest” area. After they’ve lived like this for several years, we can then measure their heart-pumping action, in re arms and legs, with those of a control group of Normals.

          Perhaps you and I could submit a grant proposal for such a study. Republicans might constitute a natural volunteer-pool for the “upside-down people.”

          • 12 possum December 29, 2010 at 1:18 pm

            While cardiovascular physiology may not be my particular forte your proposal does merit analysis and consideration. While Republicans may be the test subjects of choice I wonder where we will find alternatives to be called “Normals.” In my workplace normal is a setting on the dryer. 🙂

            In addition given our human history of a few thousands of years we might have to extend the study for centuries to really get the effect. Evolution does play a part in this mess.

            And off the subject, your pal and mine, O’Kooky is back in the news. According to reputable sources a criminal investigation in in the wings for her misuse of campaign contributions. Maybe she and her advisers would like to volunteer for our project to avoid jail time.

            • 13 bluenred December 30, 2010 at 8:07 am

              Yes, poor Ms. O’Kooky is being persecuted for minor felonies like using campaign funds to pay her rent. She is in full O’Kooky flower, with shriekings about “thugs” and “plots” and “kings.” I think your suggestion that she and hers enroll in the Professor Possum Upside-Down Heart-Pumping Study is a good one. ; )

              • 14 possum December 30, 2010 at 4:35 pm

                Shrieking is all Ms. O’Kooky can manage these days. The entire party seems to be turning against here lucky for the rest of us.

                The Upside-Down Heart Pumping Study originates on the left coast. We here in Possum Valley may be technical advisers but not leaders. You and Ms. O’Kooky are well matched for such a study. Good luck to the both of you. 🙂

  3. 15 bluenred December 30, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Haven’t I just been insulted? You saying Ms. O’Kooky and I are “well-matched”? Are you trying to tell me that I am out of my mind? A dimwit GOoPer? Or is it just that I am a witch . . . .

    • 16 possum December 30, 2010 at 5:15 pm

      You may choose your own course in the Witch of the Year category. Not mine to say.

      The comment was meant to be a sideways compliment. O’Kooky needs someone with actual intelligence to tell her how to live. She has no real sense of her own. Another person able to give direction and to offer guidance in life might be her best bet.

      And for the experiment I cannot imagine either a better subject or a more suited supervisor. 🙂

      • 17 bluenred December 30, 2010 at 5:43 pm

        Please, jeebus. Do not make me the keeper of O’Kooky. ; (

        You know, possum, she is a resident of your state. So her rehabilitation is more properly your province.

        Besides, you’re a medical man. ; )

        • 18 possum December 30, 2010 at 5:58 pm

          Many in DE would rather see her go back to New Jersey from which she migrated once upon a time. Maybe we should send her to Chris Christie. He seems about her speed in terms of inability at least. Then we can both be spared her presence.

          Thank goodness my branch of medicine has nothing to do with rehabilitation of misguided humans. I fail to see how people manage those jobs at all. Enough to deal with the misguided animals that enter my venue let alone humans.

          • 19 bluenred December 30, 2010 at 6:27 pm

            Ah—she’s from Jersey. That explains much. Yes, I agree with you: she should be made a ward of Christie’s. Can’t you people deport her or something? ; /

            • 20 possum December 31, 2010 at 3:45 am

              If we are all lucky the feds will deport her. There are some really fine Federal prisons in Pennsylvania. Seems like the perfect place for her to spend lots of years. Would be one more chance for the justice system to perform at its best. We shall see…

              • 21 bluenred December 31, 2010 at 8:50 am

                People rarely go to prison for campaign violations. I can’t imagine what purpose putting O’Kooky in the pokey might serve. Deporting her to New Jersey, however, would allow her to assist in the snow clean-up there. They seem to be having a problem with that, what with Gov. Christie hauling his 16 tons down to Florida for the holidays, while his constituents shiver in ice caves. Shoveling out snow is good, clean exercise, so long as you don’t overdo it (see medical cautionary notes above), and performs a public service. O’Kooky says she is all about public service—that’s why she runs for any available office there in Delaware—so she shouldn’t mind at all going to New Jersey to move snow from here to there. : )


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