It starts with innocuous eddies swirling across the road,

a scour of scattering crystals on west-facing windows –

the first big snow at the start of December,

tearing up the Tahoe summer blue.


The eddies get together

to form the foundation of the usual 20 foot drift.

Blowing snow softens sharp edges in the dark,

burying roads, houses and cars,

white drifts and dips inseparable from the lowering sky.


But I have to walk our horribly house-bound dog

who’s insensible to the immensity of the snow,

by the end of the afternoon

edging imperceptibly to night.

The spindrift and diminishing blizzard

makes it hard to see out my hood,

thrashing our way round Pinnacle Loop

boots filling up,

the black dog bounding and learning all about snow.


So we didn’t notice the local plow

bucking and snorting

until it’s scratched-up blade stopped

only inches in front of us.


The machine pauses, mechanically panting, waiting to charge.

But there’s a man in the fogged driver’s cab,

who raises a gloved hand and smiles in relief,

waving us past a near-miss

of flesh and blood versus steel.

We escape down the driveway he carved to the cabin,

to warmth and to safety and the family folding us in.

A poem for the Elys by Sue Boudreau, May 2017