Andrée Seu Peterson – Snowstorm psychology


NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, February 3rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Here’s commentary from Andrée Seu Peterson.

ANDREE SEU PETERSON, COMMENTATOR: There’s snow and then there’s snow. We got the second kind last month—that school-closing, SUV-shaming, every-mother’s-child-delighting storm we were deprived of last winter. We were more than fairly compensated.

In an instantaneous mental shift of gears, I chuck the day’s work and find shovels. These will be my unsuspected weapons against the encroaching suburban isolation: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, that wants it down.”

I will pluck my way first to the “new” neighbors I forgot to greet with pecan rolls—it’s been a year, at least—and hope they have not cleared the steps and sidewalk yet. Should I knock on the door and introduce myself, letting these hibernators, still nameless, know whose handiwork this is? I consider, and then think better of it: the bondsman of the Lord does not let “the left hand know what the right hand is doing” (Matthew 6:3).

Others have appeared now, a rag-tag army wielding each his homely implement to desecrate the artistry of heaven. I try to take it in before it is too late, the sculptures inviting conjecture that Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather have dusted off their wands and resumed their fierce competition: We see unearthly topiary where the shrubs stood yesterday; curvaceous swells and depressions round the trunks of pines; perfect pompadours topping marooned cars; an impossibly tall meringue astride a picket fence; windswept dunes like folds in the train of Queen Esther’s Persian wedding gown.

Once again in history, “the earth takes shaped like clay under a seal; its features stand out like those of a garment” (Job 38:14).

People will be friendlier today, a snowstorm psychology that nobody understands but everyone expects, a 24-hour brotherhood of man that sparks a hundred conversations between folks who have lived doors away from each other and never spoken.

My kitten, a smudge in the unrelieved whiteness, mews atom a crest just out of reach, terrified at the loss of terra firma, licking the strange white crystals off one paw and then another. I had tossed her out the door this morning, as usual, and she had gone willingly, unawares. She will not come now though I implore with outstretched arms, for fear of sinking in the dust, which is too powdery of snowman dreams. I perform the daring rescue in shin-high boots reinforced inadequately with “tall” kitchen trash bags.

The snowplow has forgotten our street. Through narrow trenches carved like moats before every man’s castle, I make my way to the end of this desolate outpost, and on a mischievous impulse walk with impunity down the median line of Keswick Avenue, like a kid on a dare.

The baker, the dry cleaner, Ralph’s barbershop, are abandoned. I imagine I am one of the hardy few surviving The Big One we learned to fear in our third grade class: We hid under out school desks and picture very literally something they called “fall-out” drizzling on stranded cars, perhaps a white powder not unlike this present draping.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Andrée Seu Peterson.


(Photo/Creative Commons, Flickr)

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