From around midnight on April 28th until about sunrise on May 1st — three full days — it snowed nonstop at my house. Sometimes fat soggy flakes, sometimes angry pellets.
As a native Coloradan, I’ve worn sandals in January and a parka in July, so the un-spring-like weather came as no surprise. What was unusual was the duration. I couldn’t remember a storm lasting this long that didn’t pile up on the roads and make a big mess of things. Really, it was the perfect snowstorm.
While it is fairly predictable that my daffodils and grape hyacinth get snowed on after they bloom, what captivated me this time was the resilience of these little blossoms. Even though there was no accumulation on the roads and pavement, there was a mighty impressive pile of heavy, wet snow blanketing the yard and garden.
One doesn’t have to be a writer to see this particular metaphor sliding toward you like a conspicuous Rocky Mountain avalanche. Brace yourselves.
I have cowered, bent and broken like those daffodils. I know all too well the crushing weight those hyacinths struggle against. Insurmountable. Suffocating. Pernicious.
I get dumped on by outside commitments, travel, time management mistakes. But I usually see the forecast and prepare ahead of time.
Sometimes, however, the storm comes out of the blue and I receive a review or critique or rejection that gobsmacks me with its thunder. Other times I find myself in a blizzard of my own making:
• Doubt — What was I thinking? I can’t write a novel!
• Despair — Words? What are words?
• Angst — Ack! I’ll never make that deadline and nobody will work with me again.
• Fear — I’ll die penniless and homeless in a cardboard box down by the river, the true extent of my talent forever lost to history.
But then I remember.
Great artists often become great after their death. I don’t live near a river. I’ve made impossible deadlines before.
I raise fluttery phobic fingers to Facebook to verify that I DO know words. Sentences and paragraphs, too. Often, people even go to the trouble to “like” them.
I pull my books off the shelf and gently caress them. “Ah, yes,” I murmur, stroking my name on the cover then checking my driver’s license to make sure it matches.
Afterward I point my widdle face toward the sun and watch as the storm disappears.
It always does.
So, what is your metaphorical snow? Does it hang around you like six more weeks of winter or blow through like a haboob across the desert? How do you deal with it? Are you pulled under by a rogue wave of despair, or are you tossed, hopeful and panting on the shore, by a gentle tidal surge? Are you prepared to paddle hard so it doesn’t suck you under? [I know! I need serious help.]