Monday, December 27, 2010

"The frolic architecture of the snow"

New York has seen two large snow storms this year, the one in February, that had an O. Henry twist for me, and the Boxing Day Blizzard. This one was particularly cruel to travelers, who had been given an extra travel day with Christmas on a Saturday. Now if they get out by New Year's they'll be happy.

As a city dweller with no car (and no need to fly anywhere!), I could enjoy all the drama and beauty of the storm without the inconvenience.

My roof garden--with its beachwood table sets--looks like a Hampton's sand dune!

The side streets with the parked cars get the brunt of the effects. Both because they don't get plowed and they don't get direct sun.

New Yorkers were on the move: I still had to wait at the Apple Store at Broadway and 67 to get a new battery. But it was worth it to see an amazing curtain of ice---a true urban example of what Ralph Waldo Emerson called "the north wind's masonry"--that the storm had left on the side of the glass building.

The Snow Storm
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farmhouse at the garden's end.
The sled and traveler stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

Come see the north wind's masonry.
Out of an unseen quarry evermore
Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer
Curves his white bastions with projected roof
Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.
Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work
So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he
For number or proportion. Mockingly,
On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;
A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn;
Fills up the farmer's lane from wall to wall,
Maugre the farmer's sighs; and, at the gate,
A tapering turret overtops the work.
And when his hours are numbered, and the world
Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,
Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art
To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,
Built in an age, the mad wind's night-work,
The frolic architecture of the snow.


Della said...

Beautiful photos. The roof garden really does look like the Hamptons. Stay warm with a good book!

M.A.Peel said...

Thanks! That would be a good Kindle!

Snow probably doesn't mean the same to you as it did back on L.I. since you see it so often.