Snow Fool

Last week, my husband and my kids were taking a hot tub. I was in Florida doing some readings, and my daughter sent me this photo. I honestly cannot begin to understand how this image is a piece of prestidigitation. This is my son’s face. Pressed into the snow. EXACTLY his face. Perhaps it is so correct given his hot and sweaty skin from the tub. But how is it possible that it looks as if it is in relief? As if he is from the other side, pressing his face against the surface of the snow, skyward? Sometimes, I swear that kid is magic. This morning, I was worrying about the ice on our fairly vertical driveway descent. He was in the back seat. I uttered not one word, and he said, “Don’t worry, Mom.” I didn’t even confront the fact that he’d read my mind because he does it all the time. Is it because we share the same life and his thoughts leapfrog the same events and emotions that mine do? Is it because he knows me? I can tell you that plenty of people know me, but no one consistently says outloud what I’m thinking. Sometimes he’ll actually answer questions I’m thinking but haven’t yet spoken. It’s gotten to a point where I don’t even acknowledge that he’s done it in the first place. I just continue the dialogue as if it’s been verbal all along.

I used to be a cynic about stuff like this. And lately, I find myself open in ways I never have been. What is the purpose of cynicism? Does it keep us from being called a fool? I guess I don’t care about being called a fool anymore. I am a fool. I want to be a fool. Bring it on. I want to see faces in the snow. I want to hear a robin in the too-early late winter and think I’ve been chosen. I want to enter into the language of unspoken words. I want to see shooting stars and think that wishes come true. I want to believe, not doubt. I want to say yes. Here’s what Mary Oliver has to say about it:

Morning Poem
Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches —
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead —
if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging —

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted —

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

from Dream Work (1986) by Mary Oliver

© Mary Oliver


Filed under Motherhood, My Posts

3 Responses to Snow Fool

  1. cindy

    Jesus, Laura…you know I already LOVE your writing, your vulnerability and the way you touch my soul…it’s boring and almost nauseating already, the way I gush to someone I’ve never met…embarrassing too, but since you bare it…so will I…this one moved me to tears…maybe the day, maybe the changes…maybe the kiss on the cheek I got from my son the other day…unsolicited but very, very much begged for…inside my head, not through my mouth….what’s left to say…I’m out of words.

  2. Kathy

    Unbelievable photo!! Truly amazing!! One of those one in a million shots. You could try it over and over again and not be able to replicate it.
    Your son is very intuitive. I recall you mentioning him whistling the tune that you Dad always did, and it was something that your son never heard before. It is easy to be a cynic when you do not experience the moments that you described, but the cynicism starts to wane when you have a personal experience. Your mind can’t continue to “explain away” the event.
    Once again, thanks for sharing this. I am sure glad that you have not tired of writing, because I for one love to soak up everything that you choose to share!

  3. Becky

    As always, Laura, your post will stay with me and make me think…..and *feel*……long after I’ve closed my computer. I wanted to share with you the famous “Charlie Chaplin” optical illusion, because your post really reminded me of it. Our brains are wired to “see” a certain way, and it fools us into sometimes not seeing things as they really are – the metaphor here can be left without saying. Apologies for the advertisement…this was the best video I could find of it online:

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