Despite preemptive school closings and dire warnings of Black Ice, only a dusting of snow fell here last night — not even enough to cover the ground. A good snow, glistening contentedly in the morning sun, reflecting the clean clear blue sky after the cold front, hides the mess we’ve made of the world and gives the illusion of purity, a new beginning — “a revolution of snow,” as Billy Collins writes:
its white flag waving over everything,
the landscape vanished…
the government buildings smothered,
schools and libraries buried, the post office lost
under the noiseless drift,
the paths of trains softly blocked,
the world fallen under this falling.
But the world was already fallen, and Boris Pasternak thought the snow’s motives less than pure, seeing rather
That snow falls out of reticence,
In order to deceive.
And trimming you in white
For Pasternak, indeed, snow may be nothing more than the Altoids on the breath of an alcoholic: