Snow in May

Chestnuts. With any luck, they’ll produce before I’m dead

Lazy snow this morning, intermittent flakes against the windshield as I drove home in the pre-dawn from dropping my younger son at his favorite turkey hunting haunt. A big red Ford pickup pulled from a side road in front of me. The driver flicked a cigarette butt out the window, and in the dark I was captivated by the glowing ember as it bounced and scuttled across the hard-packed gravel road. A mile or so later, the passenger flicked his cigarette, too, but this one just lay there, slowly dimming, an animal drawing its last breaths. By the time I passed, it was done. The taillights of the Ford had disappeared, hidden around a sharp bend, and I thought I’d see them again once I got round, but the truck was moving too fast and I could not catch up.

A few minutes past five now, more light pouring into the sky by the minute, and I was glad to be out and about so early, the day stretched before me, my anticipation of it like a long-awaited meal. Snow still falling, but so, so softly, as if it didn’t even really want to land.

Haven’t posted music in a while, and maybe I’ve even posted this one before. But if so, it’s worth a second listen. James McMurtry doing Lights of Cheyenne. 

9 thoughts on “Snow in May”

  1. “this one just lay there, slowly dimming, an animal drawing its last breaths.” GREAT metaphor! GREAT writing as always!!

  2. I planted two American Chestnut trees in Montpelier 4 years ago and last year they bore a dozen nuts so, unless you are planning on passing away soon, chances are very good you’ll be harvesting some nuts with your kids.
    Regarding music, you have, of course, read that John Prine will be at Dartmouth the end of July!

    1. Oh, sure… in Montpelier. But up this far north, it’s gonna take at least a few decades;)

  3. Liked the embers, Ben. Snowed in AZ too this morning, down the road from us in elevation 6,000 feet and higher. Much needed precipitation after 2 long dry months. Best of luck with the chestnuts.

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