Of all the seasons, I always loved winter the most as a kid. It always meant school was closed, and for us young boys, that was never a loss. We would stay outdoors all day—building forts, engaging in guerilla warfare with snowballs, peeling our flesh off the metal fences that surrounded the
park, pretending the world had been purified of the dirty colors. It was heaven for a child, and we stayed in it as long as we could. Angels desperate for time in the lap of their Father.
Archie—Archibald Nuesting—was obsessed with building forts, and every year when the snow was thick enough, you could see him out on his lawn with a shovel and flat piece of metal. He would use the scrap metal to calve off rectangular pieces. Then, over the next few hours—and I helped him on more than one occasion—he would build this year's outpost—a sprawling series of tunnels and hollows that would turn his lawn into an above-ground mole hill. When he was finished, we would sit in the center of his maze, disguised from outside eyes. It was here, in this secret world, that we would tell stories.
Archibald went back east for college. He returned for a few months following graduation, but the reunions with family and friends was awkward, and he didn't stay long. Shortly thereafter, his mother shared with my mother a press clipping from the New York Times. Archie—Archibald again—had become an in-house architect for a construction and composition company.
I saw the company name recently. They had been hired to construct the new world headquarters of the Trinity Foundation. It had been many years since I had seen or heard from Archie, and I wondered if he was building snow forts for his children at Christmas now.
Now, so far from those days, winter has a different hold on me. I have been too deep into the Oneiroi, touched the nightmares of too many naturalists, biologists, and indigents. Winter is their bogeyman, the hidden terror that haunts their dreams. Most of the highly educated ones fear the end of the calendar year the most, as if they really aren't sure that winter will end.
Snow is like the Oneiroi: too many permutations, too many variables. It makes me uneasy to imagine the dreaming mind that can create that many distinct and unique objects. Such minds have too many traps, too many snares, for the oneironaut.
Winter only seems empty, but really, it is void because the sensorial details have been overwhelmed. Too many colors, too many aromas, too many noises. Winter is the cosmic equivalent to a tilt, or a system crash, or a neural whiteout.
Reset, reboot, restore, try again.
Birds are Nature's startup sound.