Spring Snow: The Last Hurrah

My son Colin stomping in the snow while waiting for the bus. Photo by Francis DiClemente.

A few inches of heavy, lake-effect snow fell over central New York Tuesday morning. Despite the late April occurrence, I didn’t fret the spring storm. I felt invigorated walking to work, as the temperatures hovered near thirty, and I did not need to brush off the car or contend with clogged traffic.

Here are some photos I captured along the way.

Plants covered with snow. Photo by Francis DiClemente.

Park bench covered by snow. Photo by Francis DiClemente.

Tree branches covered with snow. Photo by Francis DiClemente.

Statue in Firefighter’s Memorial Park in Syracuse. Photo by Francis DiClemente.

And I’ll end with a poem that will be relevant when warmer temperatures return and spring kicks into high gear.

Winter Away

While I loathe the
wind, cold and snow
winter imparts,

I’m always sad
when spring comes
and the chill
in the air departs.

With winter leaving,
it’s like I’m losing
a friend at the end
of the season.

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Documentary Screening

Our independent documentary, The Real Bedford Falls: It’s a Wonderful Life, will be screened tomorrow, Dec. 11, in Seneca Falls, New York, as part of the It’s a Wonderful Life Festival. It will be shown at 1:30 p.m. at Trinity Church.

Drone photo by Chase Guttman.

Our film asks the question: Was one of the world’s most beloved motion pictures influenced by a small upstate New York town? The Real Bedford Falls: It’s a Wonderful Life is an Emmy Award-winning, half-hour documentary that explores the connections between Seneca Falls and Bedford Falls, the setting of the movie It’s a Wonderful Life.

Frank Capra, the movie’s Academy Award-winning director, was reportedly visiting relatives in Auburn, New York, when he stopped in nearby Seneca Falls to get a haircut. The barber who styled his hair recalled Capra asking many questions about the town, including, “What’s the story with that bridge?”

Fast forward to when actress Karolyn Grimes, who played Zuzu Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, saw Seneca Falls for the first time. With snow falling and holiday lights glittering, she exclaimed, “I’m in Bedford Falls!”

Photo by Stu Lisson.

These and many other striking relates are touched upon in The Real Bedford Falls: It’s a Wonderful Life. The documentary also examines small-town life in Seneca Falls, captures the excitement of the annual It’s a Wonderful Life Festival, and celebrates the enduring themes of the Frank Capra classic.

The Real Bedford Falls: It’s a Wonderful Life features interviews with Karolyn Grimes, Jimmy Hawkins (who played Tommy Bailey), Monica Capra Hodges, granddaughter of Frank Capra, film critic Leonard Maltin and Syracuse University professor of pop culture Robert Thompson. Former NBC Today show correspondent Bob Dotson provides the narration.

The film was produced by Honest Engine Films and distributed by Virgil Films & Entertainment. It’s available here. The cost is $2.99 on both Amazon Prime and Apple TV.

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Spring Snow

A blast of spring snow hit Central New York last night. And guess who the idiot is who transplanted the shovels and snow brushes from the backseat to the storage unit miles away? I should have known winter isn’t done with Syracuse even when the calendar turns to spring. Next year I’ll wait until late May before putting away the snow utensils.

Snow covering my Honda CR-V. Photo by Francis DiClemente.

Snow behind my apartment building dumpster. Photo by Francis DiClemente.

The snow reminds me of a very short poem I wrote. It seems fitting for today.

Leaving Syracuse

The grass may not
be greener,
but at least
it won’t be
covered with snow.

Snow covering grass. Photo by Francis DiClemente.

 

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Morning Snowfall

I looked out my window this morning and saw snow falling, with big flakes covering the windshields of the cars in my apartment building parking lot. It reminded me that snowfall is typical in late March in Syracuse, New York. Here, the official start of spring doesn’t mean the end of winter weather.

Of course everything is different now with coronavirus, but the normalcy of seeing snow falling comforted me. It reminded me that nature goes on, that life goes on. And the silence of the falling snow made me feel safe and secure, even as I remained trapped inside.

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Waiting Game

I should have posted this short poem yesterday, after we received a burst of snow as a cruel April Fool’s joke. But I think it’s still apropos, since the cold and snow will remain with us for a bit longer.

Plea for Spring

Dear Mother Nature:
I have one small
Request as the
Calendar turns
From March to April.
Can you give us
More Easter and
Less Christmas,
Please?

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Winter Survival Revisited

I wrote this poem about a year ago, and thought I would re-post it in light of the fact we are in the grips of a polar vortex and with Groundhog Day set for this weekend. Let’s hope February will be warmer with less snowfall than January. But I wouldn’t count on it, at least in Central New York.

How to Survive Winter in Syracuse

The only way to survive
a Syracuse winter
is to think of the snow
as a friend and not a foe.
When you scrape the ice
crusted on your windshield
and the snow clogs the streets,
when your tires spin,
or your car veers off the road—
regarding the snow
as a friend and not a foe
will help you to endure the season.
Even when the snow lashes
your face as it blows sideways,
or frozen clumps melt inside your boots,
making your feet cold and damp,
you must remember to
view the snow as a friend instead of a foe.
And what a friend … a friend that keeps on
giving and giving and giving
six months out of the year.
To which I say:
thank you my dear friend,
but I don’t need your generosity.

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Winter Walk

Winter Walk

It takes one fall
on the icy sidewalk
for your life to be ruined.
That’s right, just one tumble—
arms flailing,
legs scissoring in the air,
back parallel to the ground,
eyes looking up at a gray sky
unable to intervene—
in a brief suspended
moment before wham—
skull meets ground and blackness ensues.
Traumatic brain injury follows,
and you slip into a coma.
Your family huddles bedside,
waiting for you to rouse,
to wake up and rejoin the living,
like a grizzly bear stepping out
of its den after hibernation.
If you do come out of it
with some brain activity intact,
you may be a shell—withering
in a long-term nursing home.
And while you exist inside,
the costs mount for your family,
and the world outside your window
drags on, unaware of your predicament.
All this because some ice tripped you up.
So don’t be surprised if you see me
walking gingerly on the
glassy surface of the sidewalk,
digging my heels into a
pile of rock salt near the curb,
spreading it around on my soles,
strapping on a pair of
Yaktrax over my boots,
or cutting across the snow-covered lawns.
I guess I don’t mind dying,
or being knocked unconscious,
but I would feel awfully foolish
if a patch of frozen moisture does me in.

Sidewalk Stories (Kelsay Books, 2017)

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Snow Poem

Snow on Branches. Photo by Francis DiClemente.

I wrote this poem recently and it seems fitting for a day dominated by a lake effect blast.

How to Survive Winter in Syracuse

The only way to survive
a Syracuse winter
is to think of the snow
as a friend and not a foe.
When you scrape the ice
crusted on your windshield
and the snow clogs the streets,
when your tires spin,
or your car veers off the road—
regarding the snow
as a friend and not a foe
will help you to endure the season.
Even when the snow lashes
your face as it blows sideways,
or frozen clumps melt inside your boots,
making your feet cold and damp,
you must remember to
view the snow as a friend instead of a foe.
And what a friend … a friend that keeps on
giving and giving and giving
six months out of the year.
To which I say:
thank you my dear friend,
but I don’t need your generosity.

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Message in the Snow

I found this note on the snow-covered ground while walking to a Rite Aid store today. I saw the scrap of faded blue paper and the heart icon caught my attention. I almost kept going, but the romantic amateur detective in me felt compelled to bend down, pick up the note and examine it.

photo by Francis DiClemente

The brevity and directness of the message made me smile.

“Dwight, I [heart] you. I don’t wanna fight.”

I assumed by the handwriting that the author was a young female. It could have been a note from a sister to a brother or a girlfriend to her boyfriend.

In just seven words, plus one icon, the girl had poured out her feelings to Dwight. She exposed her heart; she made the effort to reconcile.

I wondered if Dwight accepted her apology. But since I found the paper on the sidewalk, tossed aside in the snow, I suspected he did not. If that’s the case, I thought, maybe she’s better off without him.

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