Today, the snow slumps sodden and wet with melt. It looks like cold lutefisk under poor light. Treewells sink downward, pulled into the earth, drunk up by the roots of their trees while snowmelt runnels slide along pavement toward storm drains, their concentric arcs bending like the belly scales of upturned snakes in the sun.
I hear the dull thud of rain on snow, the wetness of it all, the saturation of the season. It smells like dirt. The grass lies brown and matted, pressed into the dirt by the accumulated weight of a twelve-week snow, now exposed to the sun and air where the snow has pulled back its gums. Once snow-trapped debris litters the grass–prehistoric bodies regurgitated by receding glaciers: A limp and molding orange; a capless pen; a blue bag of dog shit tossed aside by some bastard too lazy to carry it to a can.
Later, back in the classroom, I ask, “Which way is north?” and my students catch each other in a crossfire of points before settling in a general direction the way one starling shapes the murmuration of an entire flock with a subtle wing dip. North.