The popular Native American poet Mark Turcotte told an audience of students and faculty last semester that progress can only happen when we look to the sky. So many people, he claims, spend their time looking at the computer in their hands. How can we progress when we are always looking down? His words are fitting today as I look up and find snow blowing sideways across the hotel’s parking lot, holding cars securely in spaces.
Sirens cry, reminding me to stay put in Lake Geneva and avoid the urge to head home. I imagine ambulances rushing to an accident. After all, the news reporters did tell viewers to “only drive in case of emergency.” I will wait.
In downtown Lake Geneva this morning, I fought strong winds, stomping deep piles of snow to get a “real cup of coffee" at Starbucks to replace the disappointing effects of hotel coffee.
I was one of four people walking in the blizzard. The other three were shoveling sidewalk entrances for a vacant breakfast shop.
But it didn’t look like this yesterday. In fact, yesterday was a Winterfest dream with snow masterpieces and ice tables.
Yesterday, my friend and co-editor, Michelle Duster, and I had our first book signing for Shifts at the Breadloaf Book Shop. Wendy Schmidt, an essayist and poet in the anthology, joined us to sign.
Later that night we found a frozen wonderland dressed in ice tables and sculptures...
...and, of all people, another college professor! Michelle and I met the gracious Lance Lippert from Illinois State, celebrating his birthday with his wife. Lance co-edited an anthology focused on repairing athletes’ images--fitting for Superbowl Sunday with athletes in the midst of a scandal that borrows nomenclature from Watergate.
Later, we journeyed to the national snow sculpting contest. Take a look at these masterpieces! Usually winter’s magic is found in treetops and fields, but this display is no comparison: beauty formed at the hands of man.
I suppose the blizzard and anticipatory 12 inches of snow is fitting for Winterfest. And if I think about Turcotte’s words, I must look to the sky in order to progress in life. The only way to move forward today is to accept the sky's gifts and stay indoors, thinking and working on the computer beneath my hands.