Salt on the earth

Darkness swallows the neighborhood, save for the covering of snow on the ground and the glow of moonlight. Snow has silenced the streets, though not for long. Soon enough the trucks and their angry plows will be about, salting the life out of snowy peacefulness.

It is in this frightening interruption to human schedules that the streets are free, and I take to them.

Swoosh-swoosh, swoosh-swoosh.

So go the skis, and so go I.

It may not be cross-county, but cross-suburbia is OK, too. As I glide down the street, all is quiet for the moment.

Meteorologists flash from every TV screen in the neighborhood, the radio starts its cattle call of school closings, and people begin to panic about the nearly empty gallon of milk in the fridge.

I hear none of it, for I am alone with my God.

Swoosh-swoosh, go the skis.

The wintry window of snowy communion is fleeting, though, for within the hour I sense that we are no longer alone.

Car ignitions are turned, and engines begin to idle. Windshields are scraped, allowing for a quick escape from the driveway the following morning. Shovels grind away on sidewalks. Snow blowers burst to life.

And then it comes. Turning the corner, its high beams cast my elongated shadow ahead of me on the street. I need not turn to look. I know what is coming.

Salt on the earth.

I hurry on, with the beast at my back.


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