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the snow makes it seem so peaceful

January 25th, 2004

The only sound is the crackle of the snow on the frozen leaves of the tree to my left. And the soft crunch of the snow under my feet as I walk. The falling snow causes an unnatural hush to overtake the normal sounds of the city. The busy street at the end of the block seems a mile away, no noise from the few cars that slowly creep along, thin cones of snow extending from their headlights.

The snow makes the city seem clean. Everything covered in hush makes it artificially peacefully. Makes all the things I wrote about this afternoon fade into the background. The crisp air clears my mind, the cold makes me feel alive. An empty buses chains momentarily shatter the quite, then clink into the distance and Dupont Circle is peacefully again.

Two couples walk through the circle in opposite directions, quickly, heads down, holding hands. But mostly the circle is empty, at least one homeless man sits on a bench in a tent of black trash bags. He makes a sadly comical site now with all the snow covering his little tent. There’s almost two inches on the ground now. I wish I had my camera.

The coffee shop is almost empty. Which is good since I have to take my glasses off to see because of the condensation. And I can’t see without my glasses. I order a cup from a guy who can hardly speak English, though his accent is un-placeable. I can’t speak a foreign language, despite years of classes in high school, so anyone who lives in a country where they speak anything other than their native language has my respect, and envy.

The guy who hands me my coffee is talking to the manger — “we don’t have any decaf at all.” “That’s not a bad thing,” I reply, “dirty brown water.” “Ha, I don’t think the people allergic to caffeine would agree with you.” The manager replies. “Natural selection.”

The comfy chairs by the window are taken so I head back out. Walk by my old apartment. It’s on a very nice street, tree lined and sloping down a hill. You can see the lights of U St. fade into the falling snow. I like this street better than the one I live on now. But I like my new apartment better than the one I lived in here. And having a roommate makes life feel less lonely, because I spent a lot of evenings alone on this street despite the half million people who lived just outside my door.

What type of music goes with a snowy evening? Jazz. I’ve been listening to a lot of jazz lately. Billie Holiday, Nina Simon, Ella Fitzgerald, Edith Plif. Am I getting old? Yea — halfway there. I flip through the jazz section of Melody Records for a few minutes. Pick up a ‘Back to Mine’ CD by Underworld from the techno section — ‘a personal collection for after hours grooving.’

I wrap my scarf a little tighter as the snow is blowing a little now. Logan Circle is dead. The only vehicle is the snowplow, screeching and grinding itself around and around the circle. Trying it’s best to but an end to any peace the snow is causing. Around the corner — less than a block away from my apartment the snow has started to level out the ground. I know the sidewalk is not even but the only rises or depressions in the snow are the half covered footprints of someone else who passed this way some time ago.

I totally forgot about the big depression next to that tree, across the street from the Church. It’s always filled with water — Stephen walked through it in his sandals in the fall and had to suffer cold wet feet — and Jonathan and I making fun of him. But it’s 20 degrees outside. Now it’s full of ice. And covered in snow. And now I’m laying on my back, right side covered in snow and my hand bruised from trying to catch myself because I forgot about that depression. And the only sound is the crackle of the snow falling on the frozen leaves of the tree on my right. And my soft laughter as I get up.

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