Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Snowpocalypse

A short story:

I found myself standing alone in the woods. Brown vertical lines shot up from a white background. Distance was obscure. Everything was here and far away. I listened carefully. The snow was falling with a light crackle. I exhaled. It was an extremely physical task. The air escaped my mouth, fogged up, and left only the echo of its existence in my head.

The tips of my fingers were frozen. I had trudged out here to find calm, quiet. As I looked around everything seemed noisy. My breathing, my steps, the wind, the snow, the world was so loud. It was all noise. Even the visuals were noisy. The trunks of trees were tilting, erratic, and in chaos. I could hear branches break in the distance. A crow cawed in the distance, its form passed in front of me, broken by the sporadic lines across the sheer white background. Even the winter in a storm is noise.

I turned to go back. I would not find what I was looking for here. I crunched through the fresh snow. New tracks, so crisp and permanent. The tracks I had made on the way in were already disappearing though. My heavy shoes staggered onto the road. A car with its wheels spinning passed slowly and unsteadily. The beeping of a snow plow echoed in the distance. I looked up and saw its orange lights flash against the wall of a building. The snow turned to a brown slush, something messy. I looked around. Yellow light poured out of the houses before me. The white was steadily turning to grey; it would soon be dark.

Each step toward home reaffirmed my outer search for quiet had been futile. I passed an acquaintance, commented on the storm, “a snowpocalypse.” We both laughed at the meager joke. I came to my front walk, and stomped off the snow. Loud clunks; a satisfying purification ritual. I entered my house.

Warm air melted my frozen nose. A delectable smell entered my nose. I called out. I heard laughter. I removed my shoes. I entered my kitchen and saw my friends cooking, smiling, and enjoying each other’s company. It was a bustling center of activity, but strangely peaceful. I shed my winter layers, and instantly warmed up. I smiled at my friends; their noise was a steady pattern of constantly accelerating happiness.