I had a wonderful walk into work this morning. The temperature was in the single digits Fahrenheit, and there had been a snow/fog combination earlier in the morning that sprayed all the black branches and fences with a layer of crystal. When the sun came over a house and lit up the branches, it made the whole world look like a solarized photograph.
Every branch had its white shadow of frost. When I looked up close I could see the intricacy of the crystal pattern. I saw some crabapples still on their branches. Each little ball in its cluster had a white hat. I saw the long white trail on each needle of a fur tree.
A church rang its bells and a few people walked out of the church. But these people only walked a few steps and got into their cars at the curbs. These were the only other people I saw on most of this beautiful walk.
I find that you can walk for blocks and blocks thru amazing beauty in Minneapolis, and never run into another pedestrian. At least I was walking down a quiet street that had few cars. For a few blocks I could have believed that I was the only person in the world.
And then I turned over to busy University Avenue to walk my last few blocks. Now I stopped noticing the frost on the fences, now I only saw the metal machines, each with one caged animal inside. They were sitting still because of the thickness of the morning traffic. I watched the tall plumes of ghostly exhaust rising up behind each of them.
Those plumes of exhaust made me think about the article I read in the paper this morning about how the arctic might already be over the brink as far as global warming is concerned. This made me feel almost as grumpy as all those people looked inside their traps.