Guest Obervation: Louise Erdrich

Kate and I flew to Chicago this morning. "Morning." It was actually sometime toward the end of the night. The van shuttle that drove us over to San Francisco got to our house at 4 a.m., which meant we were up a little after 3.

Back in California, Saturday was the model of a spring day, meaning warm, clear and green. It was a pretty spring day in Chicago, too: clear and warm enough, low 50s, that you wouldn't mistake it for winter. I went out for a walk wearing jeans and a flannel shirt and noticed within a few blocks I was the only one not wearing a jacket. The wind was cutting, and it was cold in the shade.
Tomorrow and Monday are supposed to be a different matter. Snow's on the way, though much more is falling west and north than the forecasters say will come down here. Still, the next couple of days won't be mistaken for spring.
A favorite scene describing a spring snowstorm, from Louise Erdrich's "Love Medicine":

"… The snow was bright, giving back starlight. She concentrated on her feet, on steering them strictly down the packed wheel ruts.

"She had walked far enough to see the dull orange glow, the canopy of low, lit clouds over Williston, when she decided to walk home instead of going back there. The wind was mild and wet. A Chinook wind, she told herself. She made a right turn off the road, walked up a drift frozen over a snow fence, and began to pick her way through the swirls of dead grass and icy crust of open ranchland. Her boots were thin. So she stepped on dry ground where she could and avoided the slush and rotten, gray banks. It was exactly as if she were walking back from a fiddle dance or a friend's house to Uncle Eli's warm, man-smelling kitchen. She crossed the wide fields swinging her purse, stepping carefully to keep her feet dry.

"Even when it started to snow, she did not lose her sense of direction. Her feet grew numb, but she did not worry about the distance. The heavy winds couldn't blow her off course. She continued. Even when her heart clenched and her skin turned crackling cold, it didn't matter, because the pure and naked part of her went on.

"The snow fell deeper that Easter than it had in forty years, but June walked over it like water and came home."

2 Replies to “Guest Obervation: Louise Erdrich”

  1. 5:40 a.m. in Portland. We were in the high 20s around the metro area at this time yesterday. Today? Now, well, officially at the airport 42, but I’m getting 47. Warm east wind has developed, our version of the Santa Anna or Diablo…. Great day for a half marathon and indeed, I am outta here right now to do it! Have fun in Chicago.

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