It was the Snow

by Paul Chubbuck

It could not have been the day-old newspapers,
unrefreshed in their stands,
or the closed schools and stores.
I’m sure it wasn’t the TV news bulletins
or the long lists of cancellations.

I don’t think it was the free coffee at the corner store,
or even the fact that most of those outdoors
were walking right down the middle of empty streets.

What could account for this rare display
of warm grins between passing strangers,
of greetings and stories shouted from porch to street,
of more than one loud “Oh my God”,
exclaimed through front doors shoved open
for the first time today on a new world?

It was the snow.

All horizontal surfaces had suddenly risen
by the height of a child.
All colors were turned white, every edge smoothed.
All cars, bushes and whole houses had become featureless,
yet extraordinarily graceful mounds,
as if rendered so by the touch of a fairy.

But in all of this spectacle,
it was the people that amazed most,
for in the face of this ever-so-gentle catastrophe,
they had taken on the color and warmth temporarily lost to the world.
Suddenly full of character, strangers flashed “hi” to unknown neighbors,
each eager to tell his and her morning’s adventure
to neighbors who’d never said “hi” before.

Now they shared shovels and snowblowers,
snowballs and snowmen, stories and smiles.

Everyone was granting everyone else that blessed glance, darshan,
as if, like children, we hadn’t yet carefully learned to fear,
as if we knew all the bad people were someplace else,
and those here with us in the cold checked out trustworthy,
as if our neighbors really were our village.

And I wondered, what could explain this?
It’s worth asking, for the answer could dissolve suffering overnight.

And then I knew.

It was the snow,
and the shared willingness to be amazed by miracles.

Paul Chubbuck is a practicing psychotherapist in Fort Collins, CO, using Somatic Experiencing® to help people release trauma, abuse, and loss. He may be reached at 970-493-2958 or through his website at

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