Saturday, December 24, 2005


As I was out walking in the latest blizzard this morning, mind pretty much filled with the usual blizzardy white non-thoughts falling from top to bottom with occasional windblown asides, my feet began talking to me of old times and the archives of unused knowledge there.

At first I wasn't listening, being preoccupied with the non-doing through which all is done, but slowly information began to break through from the past, my past, when this was big news my feet were telling me: this is more than good packing. This is more than great packing. This is packing perfection! Hello? Are you there? Yes, I'm here; why? Why? Because this is the epitome of packing, it said (though it never would have used 'epitome' when I was a kid): just listen to that ever-so-slight crunch when you take a step, that's one of the old languages you know in your very bones, telling you this snow is perfect for snowballs: not too light, not too heavy, not too dry, not too wet, sticks together with no work at all, it's the champagne of packing; what are you waiting for? Make a snowball!

So I did - perfection is hard to ignore - and my supposedly 'retired' hands still knew how to make all the various shapes I used to employ for the various nefarious purposes of childhood, then the old truth came back like a hammer: when you've got a perfect snowball in your hand there's only one genuine alternative. (Sure, you could just drop it on the ground, but where would the world be if everyone was that weird?)

I wasn't about to shoot Echo in the back, so I just threw the admirably crafted snowball at a tin shed a few meters away. Fortunately, no one was watching because it fell short. I had a thick coat on, alright? So I made another perfect champagne snowball, hand-grenade style this time, and slung it at the shed wall. Fortunately, no one was watching because I missed. It's been decades, ok? So I made another perfect champagne snowball, a sleek iceball this time, for optimal aerodynamics and maximum noisy impact against the wall of the shed, and threw it. Fortunately, no one was watching because it hit the edge of the wooden roof without a sound.

But I had not been a child in vain. I stayed there and worked on my ancient craft and from out of the snows of yesteryear it came back to me in great measure, as Echo disappeared into the blizzard. Slowly my 'arm' returned as best it could (I'd "thrown it out" at a young age in a multiwinter blizzard of snowball fights, which is why the Yankees never scouted me) and before too long I was hammering the side of that shed with satisfying regularity till figured I better make tracks before the farmer came along and caught me. Just like old times.


Tabor said...

Next winter in my new home I am going to remember this blog and wait for the perfect snowfall. Of course, I will always throw like a girl, but you have given me impetus. I can't through anything around here, because no matter how bad I am, I will certainly hit something!

Robert Brady said...

Tabor, just remember to listen to what your feet still tell you about the snow!

Chancy said...

In Atlanta, snow is so rare that I am jealous of your snowfall. What my little grandchildren wouldn't give to wake up tomorrow morning, Christmas Day, to a white world just waiting for them to make a perfect snowman.

Mick Brady said...

Sadly, I was taken out of the lineup for this year's Snowball World Series due to a shoulder injury. Perhaps we could meet in the snow next year, and see who still has the right stuff? It will have to be at your place, though; here in Santa Barbara the snowballs tend to melt before they reach their target.