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March 09, 2005

  • The Mercy of Snow
  • As he walked down College Street toward Spadina, the sounds of other people enjoying themselves finally subsided. Outside, there were only the squelching sounds of footsteps in the newly fallen snow. Outside, in the charitable night, there were no more sounds of easy laughter, the laughter that came easy to other people in their interactions, but did not come easily to him.

    Life, he thought, could be like Scrabble sometimes. It's not having the vocabulary that really counts, but rather having the acuity to know how to make the words fit. Life was always about making connections with people, at the right time, in ways that what you have fits with what others might have. But he was no good at Scrabble. He never had the acuity to make the connections. And that's how he felt about life.

    He was increasingly less and less able to say he was young anymore, and that was part of the problem. When he was younger, when people found people and he didn't he could say that he was young, there was still time. He could say, he was special, he was different, it would happen at a different time and, after all, he was still young. But he wasn't young anymore. And where did that leave him?

    People finding people. He wondered how do people find each other? Not just as mates, but as lovers, as collaborators, as friends. As near as he could tell it was like how in Scrabble knowing that putting A, O, U, and S around QUE from the bottom right square would result in a triple word score. It was both random and deliberate at the same time.

    These are the questions people ask in the absence of such things, rather than the presence.

    He knew this as he turned the corner and walked South on Spadina. As he did, he looked up and saw the snow.

    The snow was filling the very air, seemingly defying gravity, sparking in the streetlight. The snow, the still, barely falling snow that filled spaces around him, originating from a sky of pure grey indigo. No stars. No light. Just grey indigo.

    And there was the snow, the billowing patterns of pure chaos theory incarnate.

    He realized then that Spadina was quiet. The snow baffled the sounds of arterial Toronto traffic and Friday nights. There was before him the stillness of holy moments. The hush of a trillion tiny but individually unique flecks of frozen vapour.

    And in the midst of this he saw how the snow was forgetting everything around it—the sky, the ground, the people. Everything surrendered its shape, its form, and its ambient noise to the quiet relentlessness forming around them.

    And he stood within the grey indigo skies, the billowing patterns of chaos theory, the utter stillness of holy moments and he then understood the mercy of snow. The mercy caused by a forgetting hush of a trillion tiny but individually unique flecks of frozen vapour, fluttering to the ground, the spaces between them so vast and so tiny. So random and so deliberate.

    As he approached Dundas, the moment became lost to the sound of approaching streetcars, but he found himself, strangely, happy.

    This, he thought, was true grace.

    Posted by graeme | (0) Comments | Permalink

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