Ice Storm in the Pacific Northwest

In “In the Heart of the Heart of the Country” (1968) William Gass wrote about snow in such a way that you feel the snow blowing in your face, creeping under your eyelids, sticking in your hair, and seeping through every stitch of your clothing, little flakes melting on the heat of your lips and your lips turning blue, as blue as glacier water full of crushed minerals.

When winter hits locally, I often remember “In the Heart of the Heart of the Country,” and when we get an ice storm, I remember Robert Frost’s poem, “Fire and Ice”:

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

We got hit with an ice storm this weekend, three waves, the first wave a dry snow, then freezing rain, then more freezing rain. We are not in the heart of anything, here, though. We are on the edge of the continent, pushing west still, shoulders at the wheels, more often wet with day old ocean rain from the west rather than freezing winds from the east.

Fire and ice are values; they are not virtues.


  1. Cool images. That Gass story is one of my favorite pieces of fiction. I met William Gass maybe twenty years ago, right as The Tunnel was coming out. I could not believe how nice he was. His work is so searing.

    1. Joe Linker says:

      Thx, Jeff. Thx for passing on the Gass anecdote. I also liked his Fiction and the Figures of Life and The World within the Word, but I’ve not looked at either in some time.

  2. bristlehound says:

    And here we are Joe, enjoying your sunshine – Thankyou very much. What a difference a continent makes.
    You best do a “Tom Waits” and start building something in your shed during the chilly months.
    “What’s Joe building in there?”

    1. Joe Linker says:

      thx, B. Will think about doing a Tom Waits.

  3. MaLo says:

    Amazing Pitcure!!! But if i was in you, i would live in a warmer place…I don’t know: Brazil for example?? 😂😂😂

  4. Snow, ice, crystals – their wonderful beauty makes time slow down.

    I occasionally dip into Italo Calvion’s brilliant ‘Six Memos for the Next Millennium.’ Last night I opened the book at random and got the chapter on Exactitude. Reading, I thought of you. At some point Calvino talks about the contrasting images of crystal and fire, setting their qualities into the context of theories of language.
    We all have affinities with the elements. Mine leans to fire, but I also love the tranquility of the crystal.

    1. Joe Linker says:

      Have not read that Calvino – will look it up. thanks! Have read his Comics. “Exactitude” – what a word! It knows no rounding.

      1. No rounding. You’re right, he uses examples and elaborates on two divergent paths of knowledge – one path goes into the mental space of bodiless rationality, forms, vectors and force. The other path goes through a space crammed with objects and attempts to create a verbal equivalent of that space by filling the page with words …
        The Chapters are: Lightness, Quickness, Exactitude, Visibility and Multiplicity.
        I’m re-reading books I graced with stickers during my cultural studies while doing a film degree.
        Writing novels has taught me a slower kind of concentration.

        1. Joe Linker says:

          Wonderful! I remember one of his stories (histories) about a time when the moon came so close to the earth you could put a ladder up to it and climb aboard! I’ll read then and hopefully have something to post about it!

  5. We love a little storm. It makes everything so much more interesting. :)

  6. jeannineh1 says:

    Cool pics! I adore the PacNW and want to move there someday!

    1. Joe Linker says:

      Weather probably overall better than Chicago, but not sure better than Austin.

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