It's New England. It's winter. For those who don't know our winters are a bit like a yearly intermittent disaster area. We get this precipitation, often in the form of snow. It's not lake effect snow, but it can be pretty severe. Then we have 30 or 40 degree days and people get those roof top swimming pools leaking down through the ceilings and windows, etc. It's a pattern, the freeze and thaw cycle. This year we had some substantial coastal flooding in some areas already. Many friends have been displaced.
The other day I trailered an empty dump rig over to a client's home for a job. I backed the trailer in the driveway. When I parked, I opened the door and found myself about six inches from a two foot thick layer of snow on the side of the driveway. I decided to walk along the running board and climb the side of the bed. From there, I jumped down the tailgate and disconnected the hitch. To get back inside the cab I walked around the front of the truck. I grabbed the edge of the hood and toed in close to the tire. My goal was to hang on the the truck to stay upright while side-stepping in the thin strip of plowed driveway between my truck and the yard. I got as far as the tow mirror and had to pause. Could I reach the ladder rack from where I stood? I decided that I could reach it if I was quick enough. I would let go of the hood, swivel my shoulders around the tow mirror and grab the ladder rack.
I was not quick enough. It was a silly idea.
I read an excerpted passage from "The Aleph" by Borges when I was just a kid. It was a scene where the protagonist slips on a staircase and plummets headlong into a dark basement. When he landed at the bottom he struck his head. As he lay on the floor and developed a concussion, he stared at one of the steps, part way up the staircase. A bright spot like a spark appeared before him. As he continued to stare at it he realized it was a singularity which contained every known point in space and time of his life. of every life. It was a silly story for a ten year old to read.
I remember throwing myself in snowbanks as a kid. I was failing at trying to fly. It didn't feel like a failure. It felt like I was ever closer to achieving flight with every impact, ever closer to succeeding in an imaginary goal. As I sat in the snowbank on Monday afternoon and briefly contemplated where had I miscalculated, it felt like, once again, I had almost flown. I got up and spanked myself repeatedly to clear the back of my pants. The snow was sticky and wet. I could feel it already beginning to soak my britches. Once again my brain had briefly occupied more than one place and time.