Casey Wiley: In Fall We Are Leaves, in Winter We Are Snow,  

   in Spring and Summer We Are Who Knows

His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling

—James Joyce

When does rain way up there become snow, we ask each other as ourselves walking side by side in a snow-drifty parking lot, late evening, snow falling, our heads dropped back like our necks are fake necks.  She and I, holding hands, we could be children catching falling flakes in our mouths.  But we ask this question as snow, as individual flakes, whom we dream ourselves being — whom we are.  We dream our heads big and loud.

            Where have we come from? we ask.  What have we become?

            Looking up again, crossing the parking lot, everyone else somewhere else, our heads knocked back, our backs arched as if we are limboing lazily, snow falls faintly.  Stories: as we fall through the air we feel fine, we snow, we say, floating down from the clouds, falling, we’re fast, slow, and would you look at that!  It’s just like they said it would be!, we say, we snow.  It’s [some word] on our cheeks and on our eyes, but do we notice?  (And do we have eyes?  Do we have cheeks?  Sure.)  We do not notice that it is [some word] as we are falling from the sky at uncertain speeds, like how lint would fall from the sky, like lint from clouds we fall, or bits of tissue, like bits of tissue from clouds we fall.


But we know we are falling.


[Some word.]


            We dream that in landing the flakes shiver in piles in the no light, little moon parking lot because it is: no degrees.  Snow piling and then shivering, but snow also walking hand in hand as we shiver and do little dances to try to stay warm in this winter night.  Wrap our arms around ourselves and realize: We never hug ourselves.

            We ask as we walk along, our heads dropped back, Or could it be that it is it all extremely cold mist way up there?  Extremely cold foggy stuff? we have no idea.  We think we should know this, she and I walking, our breath illustrated in front of us, but does it matter?  We know at any altitude, wherever in space, wherever on ground, we are snow.


Bear with us for our walking dreams extend high into the air, but there are also tiny down winter coats involved, we decide, kabillions of them, but also we also know this.  Each individual flake, floating to the ground and then landing and then shivering for some time in those piles of other flakes — we shiver — each individual flake requests a down coat.

            You just have to wait your turn.

            Simple as that.


But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Does air rush by our cheeks?  Answer: Yes, sir, and no, sir.  In the clouds, just before falling, we are briefed via loudspeakers about Air, we are briefed by those we believe and those we feel comfortable saying we love, but the funny thing is, is this: We do not even sense it as we fall.  Air is an afterthought, something forgotten/left behind, oh well.  But falling, not yet [some word], only falling or drifting or nearly floating, floating and spinning, tumbling and twisting and tumbling and turning but — we stress this — we say we hardly notice even these movements as if this falling toward ground toward hard toward whoa toward wee toward future is occurring in slow motion like in the motion pictures (HD quality) we are told about via loudspeaker before falling.  Told that we will see these motion pictures (HD quality) on an endless wonderful loop on endless wonderful screens once we reach ground.  And in these motion pictures (HD quality) there will be slow motion techniques and haunting music that will affect us deeply in our heads for a long time, we’re told.  And we’re told that it all really sets a tone.

But falling is our motion and it is slow, feels this way because it is us, on the ground and above it, turning, and falling — we know this happens.  But we realize that we begin to change and comply as we fall closer to ground.  Those are two words we have never used before, while walking or falling.


Change and comply.


Falling, too suddenly we realize that everything changes.  Yikes and no thanks.  Closer, closer, we claw upward, fall upward, float upward, tumble and twist upward, tumble and float and suspend.  Suspending, we notice suddenly the Air then, fierce against our cheeks.  Recognize the ground, although we have never seen ground nor felt ground nor wanted it ever and ever amen.  We notice then that [some word] is the word said in a loudspeaker-quality voice: Cold.  Cold air.  Cold fall.  Cold ground.  Simply: Cold. But our coats will be surely puffy, but no zippers that could catch on our thrusty chests. Buttons, we request, and we are told by those we love that we will have them.  Or snaps, if they run out of the ones with buttons.


Our coats will be: simply good.


Have we experienced?  Yes.  And no.  But we know.  We insist we do.  The snow piles on the ground of this parking lot are clouds.


Air pressure and wind resistance and temperature and atmospheric whatever.  None of that ever again, except we repeat the following and the following is this: Never, ever, never think of that.  What comes next?  We fall again, we tell each other.  We fall again.


Shivering in a pile of piles, waiting our turn, the tiny down coat request is granted. Check mark on a clipboard.  At least we have that.  One coat is distributed, and then another.  They fit perfectly.  There are no zippers to catch on our weasey chests’.  Piles of she and I scattered and blown, shivering and complaining about the damn cold, about another learned word: the weather.  Suddenly words for all these things. So many words.


We try little dances to stay warm.  Try little dances.


Does falling snow tell stories?  Does falling snow walk hand in hand?  Does it drop its head back and imagine?  Call out?  Disappear?


Shivering then in a snow pile in some empty lot, black night, waiting for the next go at falling.  For now, we are bundled in down coats, rather expensive things.  We wrap our arms — surely we have arms, surely we have every one of our parts — we wrap our arms around ourselves, hugging and saying we love.  But soon again, surely: falling and twisting, the air holding us up, suspending us — oh that feeling! — then sharply pulling, and we’ll exhale or yelp or both.  Has it been so long?  Has it been forever?  We’re forgetting already.  So we tell stories.  Because we know.  And we’re told by those we believe — we believe dearly those who tell us — that again we’ll think of nothing and want nothing more.

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