Snow on Black Tar

By Jon Hillenbrand In Poetry

dragonflies on lily padsIn the desert, the sand on top of the sand is almost like a talcum powder, rubbed smooth by tripping and tumbling over its rough brothers for eons.  This slippery dust gets picked up by the wind and flows close the the ground in the same way pelicans use the updraft coming off of waves in the ocean to inflate their large parachute-like wings.  The birds flow over the waves, very close to the water, on a ground-effect or bubble of air that is always in motion.  It’s invisible, but you could feel it if you could fly.  The same can be said for the layer of misty sand floating over a desert when the wind picks up.  Go to the beach on a windy day and you’ll find this sand in your ears on the drive home.  If the sunlight hits it just right, you can see this layer when two or more waves of wind combine, or slow enough to cause the dust to peak.  The long stringy peak flows over the desert in the same way that very cold snow does over blacktop in parking lots.  A very cold day will whip off the edges of snowflakes and combine them into a snowy mist that floats over the ground.  This can be hard to see if you aren’t paying attention, but in some parking lots paved with black tar, the strings of misty snow will flow past and around you.  The sun can’t be too warm and the wind can’t be too fast.  The ground can not undulate too much.  To see it is to see a combination of factors and events coalescing, like when paint and canvas texture combine with muscle and humidity and ambient light to create art.  A beauty is created and revealed to those looking for it.

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