Desperate times call for desperate measures. Only a dusting of snow fell in the metro area during November and December. Worse, it rained in January, followed by treacherous ice, people breaking ribs, cracking skulls, hospitals jammed. Major Nordic ski races have been canceled the last several years, or have spent gobs of money to make or harvest snow. In Minnesota!
Something had to be done to save Minnesota winter, since climate change has already warmed the state by 6 degrees Fahrenheit, most of that in winter.
At wit’s end, I turned to prayer. My poem, “Prayer to Winter” was published in a small newspaper and literary magazine in December and January, and I recited it at an arts and climate change event on Jan. 16. You know the result: 31.5 inches of snow, so far, in February, a Minnesota monthly record, with more on the way! Ohh boy. Blame me if you want. I deserve it. But never underestimate the power of poetry prayer!
PRAYER TO WINTER
Do not abandon us!
We who fear your fury
love your coverlet of snow.
We who cower at the bus stop
love the ice beneath our skates.
We who daily deplore your omnipotence
weep at your unseasonal melting.
We will push our skis uphill for you,
chain our tires, jump our batteries,
scarf and beard our cheeks,
bury the curves of our bodies
And we will shovel
until the rhythm of our shoveling
exalts us in your presence.
Until the stroke of our blade
And the smoke of our breath
blows honest and pure, until
the Niagara of our nose is frozen,
our muscles sinewy and warm,
and we burst through the door
with an explosion of stomping
and clapping, throwing open
ourselves, yelling, “I’m
home! I’m home!”
Do not abandon us,
as we have abandoned you.
James P. Lenfestey is a former editorial writer for the Star Tribune covering energy, the environment and education.