Pennsylvania: After the Storm

It has been a winter without snow in Brooklyn, this New York City borough geographically located in Long Island. The waters of the Atlantic must be warm because I’ve only seen a dusting, at the beginning of February. Yesterday, though, a few snowflakes fell in the afternoon, and that was enough to thrill me for a few minutes. I guess I’ve come to enjoy winter as an important season, as part of the beauty and goodness of Nature’s cycle north of the Tropic of Cancer.

Just the other day I opened the old Bible that I used to read during my first years in Pennsylvania, and I found drafts of an unfinished poem, handwritten in pencil on a torn piece of white paper.

Verses from a past self

The first draft reads as follows:

After the [unexpected] storm I went for a stroll
in the snow-covered fields
outside my studio.
I left a drawing unfinished
on my table.

I guess I must really have gone for a stroll after a Pennsylvania winter storm and, upon returning, tried to write a poem. In the first draft I was trying the poetic voice of a visual artist, one who likes to sketch and draw. In the second draft, however, I changed the voice of a visual artist for one of a walker, a more familiar and perhaps authentic voice for me.

I saw the flock of seagulls
standing in the snow-covered fields
in Pennsylvania.
"So far inland, in the mountains,
far from their home," I thought.
They stood while the wind swept
the falling snow--
the storm caught them unaware
in a foreign land.

Unlike Thoreau, however, who walked in the fields and forests near his hometown for most of his life–except for some trips–, this poetic walker seems to recognize himself in the seagulls.

I am guessing. It’s been many years. I do recall seeing seagulls in open fields in Pennsylvania during winter and wondering what they were doing there, which was the same question I often asked myself: “What am I doing here?” I’d wonder about it especially during winter.

At any rate, life unfolds and we evolve. I no longer ask that question. I know that seagulls flock to Prospect Lake during winter –I guess they seek refuge from wintry ocean waters– and I just enjoy the beauty and alacrity of their presence. I don’t need to ask, “What am I doing here,” while standing on the lake’s shore. Peripatetic, I just feel that I am in one of my homes.

A homeshore

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