seattle’s snow

Snow in Seattle for three days, no school, classes canceled, this strange time outside of time, walking around the neighborhood in boots and gloves through the snow, stopping in at the coffee house up the hill crowded with folks from the neighborhood, the concrete floor wet with melting snow, the place feeling a little like the warming house at the ice skating rink that I knew as a kid, those long cold winter Saturday afternoons in Chicago when my mother would take me to the rink and leave me as I skated around and around…..

On every hill in the neighborhood kids have taken over the side streets for sleds and snowboards [I watched a teenager on my hill leap the curved trunk of a tree from the sidewalk, swing quickly right then left across the street and back to the sidewalk to a complete stop about half way down the hill], kids racing parents down 65th to 3rd or down 60th from 3rd all the way to 5th or 6th, kids on saucers, on makeshift plastic, their parents standing around in groups sharing beers or hot chocolate….

I walk through the neighborhood with no particular agenda, help out a young woman who’s Ford Escort was sliding down 62nd  and then talk to a few neighbors as I watch the activity on 60th, just below our house.  Snow falling, the streets otherwise quiet, just kids and sleds like it’s a hundred  years ago, like some Pieter Breughel painting. 

Late at night I go outside just to be in the silence, the snow, beneath the bare limbs of snow covered trees, beneath the douglas fir’s branches weighted down with snow, beneath the gray sky, streetlights far in the distance.  A life on pause, work to do which I’m doing but this odd sense of a few days of grace, time as a holy space that we walk about inside of like the city’s some great cathedral and we’re all somehow cleansed of our sins, all newly baptized and sent out into the snow to play, to try it all over again.