When The World Ends (I Hope It Ends In Blinding White Nothing)

When The World Ends (I Hope It Ends in Blinding White Nothing)

we watched the snow
bury us in obscurity
looking out our windows
all we saw was

andbeholdit was good

when the storm ended we
crawled from our caves
and were blinded by


this would be our new world
we grabbed our shovels
dug each other free
carved new roads
claimed what was ours

andbeholdit was very good

February 1st, 2011 – Lake Shore Drive.

This past weekend my homeland got the largest snow fall in November in 120 years while we suffered in Southern California with upwards near 90 degrees and Santa Ana winds. Suffering is relative, I guess, but I miss snow quite a bit. I’ve tried to convince myself otherwise but there’s something about watching the seemingly peaceful snow, thinking it harmless, then finding it has commanded authority over your life. It tells you where and how you will go, as evidenced by the above photo. The snow determines what you will wear and how you will wear it. If you try and kick it off your boots it’ll find its way up your pants.

When the World Ends is one of my older poems. When I began writing I was obviously awful at it, I’ve improved just enough to recognize just how awful I was and still am, but the above is the first poem I ever wrote that I kind of liked. I’ve toyed with it plenty over the past four-five years but have always found myself coming back to a fairly close edit of the original draft I wrote during one of the more memorable weeks of my life.

The storm began around 3pm. It was big fluffy snow so I thought I’d be safe reading at Starbucks before safely driving home when class was cancelled. Which was an unfortunate fortune because the big fluffy stuff grew into ThunderSnow, all the roads that led home were closed until the next night. So my coworkers closed up shop early and we got a room at the hotel behind the café, it being too dangerous for anyone to drive home.

Stranded, we watched the storm through our second-story window. The surrounding landscape was obscured by the snow, we were only able to catch glimpses of the made new and strange alien terrain when lightning would strike. We ordered a pizza from the sports bar not twenty yards away from the hotel and when we went to pick it up we could feel the charge from the Storm’s lightshow racing from flake to flake to flake to our freezing flesh. It took twenty minutes to walk the few short feet to the bar, the furious wind holding us back. When we eventually entered the bar its stranded patrons gave us a standing ovation.* Returning to the hotel was no easier with the wind to our back, it was all we could do to not be bowled over into the ever growing snow banks.

Walking on Granville – Chicago Blizzard 2011. February 2, 2011. Andrew Huff. Some Rights Reserved.

The next morning when we woke up the main roads were clean enough for everybody but me to drive home. They did. After digging out my car that wouldn’t start I sat waiting for salvation and wrote this poem. A regular customer, an off-duty cop, serendipitously arrived shortly after I finished the first draft and gave me a lift across town to a friend’s house, a friend who happened to be stranded elsewhere. There I sat alone for hours reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and the Damned. 

The world looked much smaller after the storm, the snow having wiped the slate clean. We were buried under the realization of our own futility but drawn together for warmth, comfort, and survival. All that was left was the good work of starting fresh – the digging out of new lives and carving out new roads.

P2021270February 2, 2011. Annie Lambla. Some Rights Reserved.

*I’m not joking everybody in the bar actually gave us a standing ovation. Granted, they were mostly drunk and my buddy and I were quite the pair looking like, respectively, Yukon Cornelius and a candy cane in a stylish Navy Trim Fit Double Breasted Peacoat returning home victorius from battle with a Yeti.


When The World Ends (I Hope It Ends In Blinding White Nothing)

3 thoughts on “When The World Ends (I Hope It Ends In Blinding White Nothing)

  1. Jordan, what is up brother! Thanks for reading. It was a great week. We need to catch up, it’s been way too long. I think I may have rudely not responded to a FB message.


  2. It is interesting how snow prompts people to write. Below is my musings on the first snowfall this year while at my daughter and son in laws house watching the grand kids.

    Nov. 20th 2015 is the first snowfall of the year and we are at Jen and Mike’s to watch 4 year old Ella and 18 month old Lucy our beloved grandchildren while Mom and Dad get a dinner date out. I decided to bring over The Chipmunks Christmas CD and naturally Ella has all four of us up on the dance floor family room dancing away. Ella and I spin around and around until we are dizzy. Ella likes to look at the grocery store adds with me and make a check on the things that she likes that are on sale. Later in Ella’s room while Brenda is getting Lucy’s pajamas on Ella picks up the book Llamas and Pajamas I think it was called and proceeds to read it to me from memory. I am amazed she can already memorize that much. Then while watching Daniel Tiger talk about how grownups always come back we catch Lucy starting to choke up because she understands Mom and Dad went out tonight and she gets what Daniel is talking about. Brenda consoles her in time to avoid a meltdown. The main highlight of the night is watching the snow start and come down harder and harder. At the living room window as Brenda comes in, Lucy exclaims to her “See! see!” Later we are looking out the patio window at the pretty Christmas lights and falling snow that the neighbor has across the way. Then we hear the garage door open and Jennifer walks in. Lucy excitedly runs over to her Mama and motions for her to come over and look out the patio window at the snow. While being held by Mama she is just so excited to share it with her Mom because last year she would have only been around 6 months when she saw snow. After they have looked at the snow then Lucy is telling her Mom to “sit down” because Lucy is always ready to nurse after Mom has been away. Mom and Lucy go upstairs for a quick night cap. When they come down Daddy holds Lucy and opens the front door so she can get an even better look at the snow. This is a first snowfall Brenda and I will always remember.
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