Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Non-Fiction



Major Advisor

Bruce Ballenger


1. April

1986: Wind melds sky turns to rain turns to snow turns to white closes in.

A South Dakota blizzard is a shape-shifter, undulating, hiding, revealing little of what lies beneath. In its aftermath, fallen snow is delicate, ephemeral. It quells noise, erases the line between earth and sky. It envelops sound: footsteps, passing vehicle, a runaway dog, cannot shatter this silence. The tired scraping of a metal shovel against idewalk is the only thing penetrating the quiet, quiet hush, as I wade through snow in my Sorels, clearing the walk. Breathing in, I feel my nostrils sting. I see shimmering, sub-zero air spinning around the sun. I take it all in: the glitter falling from frozen sky, one infinite wave of white’s ascension into heaven. In this moment, I know what it means to be alive.

Today is April 16, the day after Easter.

Included in

Nonfiction Commons