I Shun the Claques Stamping Their Feet for Snow Encores

Photograph by Peter Tobia, 2014.

Photograph by Peter Tobia, 2014.

Stop it! I say. That’s enough! I’ve already seen too many of your performances!

The podiatrist’s receptionist just called and changed my appointment . . . again. Another two weeks to wait. My toes have scheduled a walk-out vote.

And as for your “thousandth time,” Rob Frost, hush up!

I’ve seen this white stuff more than a thousand times, it seems like, and I’m exhausted from answering “from within.”

Now, it’s from without that I answer, from my throat to the sky: Cut in out!

Does talking to snow, to the sky, make me feel better?

A little . . . but what I like is, it puts me in R. S. Thomas’s company:

It was always weather.
The reason of our being
was to record it, telling it
how it was hot, cold, wet
to the pointlessness of saturation.
. . . It repeated itself
in a way we were never tired
of listening to. ‘Do that again,’
we implored . . . .

Hold on, Ronald. So far, I’ve been with you. But this matter of asking weather to repeat itself. It’s done enough of that lately without being asked, snow upon snow, snow upon snow.

I’m sick and tired of it taking one curtain call after another.

You hold on, John, and continue reading: ‘Do that again,’ / we implored it on the morrow / of a fine day.

Sorry for jumping the gun, Ronald; I, too, clamour for fine-day encores.


In the “January” section of his book A Year in Llŷn, Thomas often mentions the weather:

It was raining as I was driving along the Clynnog road, but above my head the slopes were already beginning to whiten. The difference a few hundred feet make!

It was only in Manafon that I experienced all the difficulties of heavy snow. What if I had been born an Eskimo and had to learn forty different names for snow, because there was so much of it?

These days, it is rain, rain, rain. Weathermen love to promise storm after storm from the Atlantic, but they never say why. Looking back, they can explain how the path of the storms changed, but they cannot say why. The weather is one great mysterious machine which continues to produce periods of fair and foul weather, heat and cold; but it keeps its secret, just as the soul refuses to tell us how it becomes incarnate in the womb. We are not, and never shall be, all-knowing.


If you don’t know Robert Frost’s poem “Snow,” which I alluded to above, here are my favorite lines:

Things must expect to come in front of us
A many times—I don’t say just how many—
That varies with the things—before we see them.
One of the lies would make it out that nothing
Ever presents itself before us twice.
Where would we be at last if that were so?
Our very life depends on everything’s
Recurring till we answer from within.
The thousandth time may prove the charm.

(The Poetry of Robert Frost, 149-150)

Poetry and Prose of R. S. Thomas quoted in this blog:

“It was always weather” – “Meteorological,” No Truce with the Furies, 28.

Assorted “weather” quotes – Autobiographies, 114, 115, 117.


5 thoughts on “I Shun the Claques Stamping Their Feet for Snow Encores

  1. I often feel the same way about the rain here in Vancouver. I too want to shout, “Cut it out!” A lovely place it is, but not without its challenges. I still prefer snow in winter, since I spent the first half of life in Ontario, where winters were both beautiful and severe. I have no idea the ‘why’ of weather, but I do know the rains are the the cause of the joy that arises within me when the sun comes out here on the Wet Coast of Canada.
    Thank you for your post. Best wishes.

    • I appreciate your comment, Michael. Sorry that it has taken me so long to respond: three very packed days here. My wife and I got as close as Seattle and Victoria to Vancouver several years ago. On a day of blue-sky beauty, we enjoyed a party on a classic yacht sailing on the Puget Sound. Encountered rain, fog, mist on the ferries from Seattle to San Juan Island and on to Victoria, where the weather was perfect for the Buchart (spelling?) gardens. I wasn’t made for the snowy winters of Ontario or Quebec, which I’ve been reading about in Louise Penny’s mystery novels.

    • Thanks, Chaps. The photo was taken by my son’s neighbor in Philly. The photographer is now freelance, but he did work for the Inquirer. I asked Peter to snap a shot with his phone. He found a real pro.

  2. I enjoyed this entry and i empathize with broken doctor appointments – although i like the seemingly unending blanket of white this year. Its tissue paper softness is somehow easing my spirit amid the constant drone of the steel against iron battle waging between the scattered parts of my restless life right now. snow somehow satisfies.

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