Trapper Markelz is a poet, musician, and cyclist, who writes from Boston, MA. You can learn more at https://trappermarkelz.com.
Our calendars begin in the wrong spot.
They should start and end with the first snow,
a great eraser, unsharpening the earth
and blurring the boundary between
spruce grove and sky. Every footprint
made visible in a grand reordering
of urgent peace amid the crystal quiet.
On snowy days, I’d ride shotgun
in my dad’s snowplow truck
counting backup beeps before the drop
of the blade, some deft angling,
and a crunching rush of progress
crossing a small craft runway,
a plumbing store parking lot,
or a long, wooded driveway
making space for all the civilization.
Next morning—our work is deleted
and we do what all humans do:
pull on boots, grab the keys,
and thrust our dull blades forward.
This poem started during the first snowstorm of the New England winter season. Growing up in Homer, Alaska, I've always felt a reverence for the first snow. Winter in Alaska is a time of resourcefulness, and I wanted to capture that in the telling of a childhood story of industry contrasted against observations of the effect of snow on nature. The poem is ultimately a celebration of work ethic and human resilience in the face of cold winters and the relentless effort of survival.