Rabbit tracks are the only interruption of a stretch of yesterday’s snow stretching from my window to a neighbor’s stone garden walls. Lines of sparkling white rest on the bare tree branches that fracture a cloudless blue sky. Sunshine is decorative when the temperature stops climbing.
As a writing prompt snow has a lengthy positive playlist—a blanket hiding all that is gray, an invitation to be a child, flakes on lashes, a fairylike sparkling dust. And there are days when the snow prompt elicits other words—glaring cold hiding the garden’s green, icy curse on a safe journey, smothering the earth, driving animals further to find food, treacherous underfoot, frozen tundra, blinding, endless, isolating.
The newspapers this morning are filled with grave concerns about the future of our country. I am caught in an unhealthy ennui, held captive creatively, unable to find peaceful stillness. A sentence begins, crawls on screen, then my eyes return to the rabbit tracks on yesterday’s snow and wonder if the furry critter is nesting under the stones in my neighbor’s garden, what it eats in the winter, how badly the next four years might be. Will Minnesota Cold become my reality?
Mo Udall once said something like Reaganomics promised all people equal ice, but for the poor it would all come in the winter. And while our departing President challenges us to continue to hope, his words are tempered by the reality of the world where there is a whole lot of hostility and inequality.
If I wrote romances or mysteries instead of literary and speculative fiction, winter might be easier. Passion and puzzles sound like better mental escapes than thinking about emotional change or dystopia.