A Lump in the Snow

Later that night I stood at my bedroom window and looked out at the garden. There were only a few withered tomato stems poking out of the snow cover. They were dead, dry and colorless in the moonlight, and left blurry shadows. The garden parameter wasn’t visible, the chicken wire was rolled up and stored in the cellar, but I knew were it would have been and it seemed to me at that moment that nothing existed beyond it. How strange I was at six, mesmerized by a fallow plot buried under a good week’s snowfall. Nothing seemed more beautiful to me than certain knowledge of where things were when they couldn’t be seen. The snow-shrouded garden was like a living memory, yet one that seemed impossible to place in another season. I could not imagine summer clouds, or fresh pine cones. The soil had never been black, that lump had never been a blue ball. Still, I knew that under the snow it was a blue ball, and the earth was black. I knew, but could not believe it. How strange I was at six, standing at my bedroom window, conjuring an inverse of faith. Summer clouds, pine cones, puddles, crying, impatience, darkness, burnt wood, porcelain figures, glimpses of skin, sweat, fear, gravel… none of that existed, not even in photographs as I remembered seeing them. The moments in which pictures are taken or shown are as imperceptible as someone else’s pain. The texture, thickness, and weight of the photographic paper are all that can be said to exist. Outside, the whiteness and cold are real. The stiff creaking of the house is real, more so, even, than the hearing of it. I recall climbing into bed that night, wishing more than anything that I was not alone, that there was something out there that knew for certain that I was here, thinking all these thoughts within my invisible parameters, beneath the snow, with my inverted faith.


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