I had a doll, once, and she kept her counsel. Her eyes gazed serene and indifferent. I told her my tales, such as they were, and she remained placid, unmoved and unmoving. Over time my frustrated tears -- just the ones all children tend to shed -- stained the pink flannel stretched taut over her stuffing. Still she did not blink.
Today it is snowing, and I am reminded of my doll. Snow covers over,
smoothes out, hushes. But its is not the silence of absence. No,
snow's silence is layered with us, our secrets, our dreams, our lives.
When my mother came to visit just after the birth of my second son, it
started to snow and didn't stop for days. She stood by the window and
gaped at the unfamiliar land, the relentless white, or at herself
reflected in the panes. I cannot even guess. Her secrets are in
Connecticut waters now, and the snow knows enough to cover them up when
On the fourth day of her stay, she managed to tear
herself from the vista. The newborn hadn't reeled her in. Only the
snow. She said, "I want to go home."
"Now?," my husband
queried, incredulous. "You don't want me here," she returned
listlessly, playing the role that came most naturally to her: making,
faking, excuses. He complied (giving the lie to her words, I suppose,
because she looked terribly surprised to have been taken seriously -- I
would have soothed, assuaged, contradicted) and drove her to the airport
in the worst of the storm, nearly dying for his trouble.
I stayed home, cradling the good baby, the one who looked like me, the one who hadn't been worth his grandmother's time.
And I took my turn at the window, mesmerized by the snow, still
falling, doing its work of quieting our lonely-hunter hearts,
safekeeping them until the long spring melt.
written in December of 2012