we had made such headway into spring! Over weeks the snow cover shrank and the stunned land surfaced as the dun-colored dry residue of last year’s living, or as small new sprouting things, green curls among the dead stuff, trying to get comfortable, trying to get started.

On cue, the spring clouds grew sharp edges and hung above our heads like ill-fitted keystones: loose and menacing.

Just days ago, in warming weather, we had walked over the crust and it didn’t even stick to our shoes. The birds came back

Then, yesterday, sharp cold turned up again like a cranky adult child who can’t find work and comes home, defeated. Of course we let it in, though it seems – and is – so out of place. On cue, the spring clouds grew sharp edges and hung above our heads like ill-fitted keystones: loose and menacing.

By day’s end, the sharp clouds were shedding snow – just dust at first, inconsequential. But the snowfall picked up and by 7 in the evening, the cars in the dooryard were covered thickly. What fell was soft; the flakes did not form clumps but just piled up, had been piling up all day as the sun slowly traced its track, inspecting the work from every angle. In evening gloom, and all night through, the snow kept falling, and by the next morning the shape of the world was indefinite again.

At another time of year, we welcome this soft, white prospect. It’s beautiful, and the ambiguity of its horizons is exactly the delight we are thirsting for. By spring, though, things have changed. Our history has changed; it now includes another, recent winter. Our path to the present moment has changed, so our relation to this late snowfall is also different. Its grey gloom is unsettling. It is a wrong turn in the universe. Its vagueness does NOT give us pleasure: now it weighs upon us.

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