Those of us who live in Colorado never question the adage IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE WEATHER, WAIT 10 MINUTES. After weeks of buying into fake news that predicted rain and/or snow, after weeks of wearing my fattening, flannel-lined jeans only to be overheated, Westcliffe got snow. Watching the fat flakes flurry in nearly white-out conditions, I felt the same thrill that I did when I was six: the snow was fresh, and I had a new American Flyer.
The drought had persisted so long, that I began to think of more primitive times: would a sacrifice satisfy the gods who wanted some recognition of their powers? And if so, what sacrifice would satisfy? Wayne Ewing writing in the March 30 edition of The Wet Mountain Tribune cited the National Weather Service: Although the current and predicted precipitation has nudged our immediate area out of ‘drought persists’ to ‘drought remains but improves,’ there is still room for concern.” As of March 27th, we were 40 percent below average. Scary stuff.
By Monday night, the weather gods decided to flex their muscle and the long anticipated snow fell. Donning our winter wear, we went for a twilight walk down the alleys and along the bluff. The scene was magical – made more so by the recognition that beyond the snow’s beauty was its utility. Walking back to the house, I was struck by the wreath on our front door: having just replaced winter’s Bittersweet berries with artificial Forsythia, I was a good month too early to celebrate spring. I could hear the gods laughing at my expense.
It’s good to be reminded that we aren’t as smart or powerful as we like to think we are.
I’m reading Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. Published in 1937, the book follows one black woman’s transformation into selfhood. The author of nine novels, Hurston was ahead of her time as a writer, anthropologist and folklorist. Both black and white critics were critical of Their Eyes. In particular, Hurston’s brand of feminism did not sit well with men. Following publication, Their Eyes was out of print for 30 years. The novel only came back in 1975 thanks to Alice Walker whose article, “In Search of Nora Neale Hurston,” was published in Ms.
No one writes an extended metaphor better than Hurston. Quoting the very first paragraph of Their Eyes: “Ships at a distance have Man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men.”
I’m left wondering if Hurston had second-sight. Did she know her end or was she just a realist? For certain her dreams were mocked. In October of ’59, Hurston was forced to enter the St. Lucie County Welfare Home where she died in January of 1960. She was laid to toss-and-turn in an unmarked grave in the Garden of Heavenly Rest, Fort Pierce, Florida. Her grave was finally marked in 1973 by Alice Walker. Finally, Hurston was at-rest.