Since childhood I’ve associated snowstorms with books. On those winter days when the roads were so slick with ice and snow that school was cancelled, I could look forward to an unscheduled day of doing what I loved best – reading. The anticipation was delicious. There was nothing better than spending a whole day lost in a novel, encountering new places and situations, deeply engaged in a world of the writer’s imagining. That little shiver of happiness revisits me to this day whenever we’re a little bit snowbound.
This morning, I stood at our living room window watching the snow fall. It was light snow, falling fast – the kind that usually lasts all day and accumulates. The kind that’s perfect for curling up on the couch with a book and a cup of coffee. I felt that familiar delicious shiver, thinking of the books on my (long) TBR list.
The snowplow hadn’t come through yet and there was no one out and about. Then, perhaps because it was so quiet and lovely as the snow accumulated on the trees surrounding our home, I thought of Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening.”
It’s one of those poems I can’t remember not knowing. One I memorized as a child and one that’s easy to remember because of its lyrical cadence. On the surface it paints a Currier-and-Ives-like portrait of a man driving his horse and buggy home at twilight and seeing snow fall on his neighbor’s woodlot. It’s a poem that’s a favorite of American English teachers at all levels and it’s been analyzed and dissected for hidden meaning countless times. But the line that kept running through my head was “To watch his woods fill up with snow.”
That’s what I did this morning. Like Frost, I just stood still and watched the woods fill up with snow. I forgot about the books I wanted to read. Time disappeared, along with the day’s agenda, and all the cares and concerns I usually carry around with me. There was just the snow gently falling. And peace slowly filling my heart.