Yes, perceptive reader, this post title is indeed an old James Joyce line - (from The Dead).
Sometimes life imitates art! After working on a scene this morning, with 9 year old Manfred in Breslau in 1945, trying in that scene to describe the weight of the snow upon that city as the Russians advanced from the east, once day broke and I could see outside my own windows, the snow was falling heavily here as well. Bit intriguing to be "willing" yourself into a snowstorm in your mind as you write - and then - when it is time to go out into the morning, to be literally and physically in a snowstorm.
The two "snowy" ones are this morning (Nov. 22), the other one is just a nice one from yesterday morning (Sunday Nov. 21).
And maybe you're curious!! :)
This is the (partial) Breslau scene - this being from book two of the Within This Darkness trilogy:
Breslau January 20, 1945
On January 20, 1945, snow fell endlessly from dark clouds. The snow was so thick, and added so much weight to the air, that it nearly silenced the desperate chaos around Manfred. At times, when he looked back as an adult, Manfred would wonder if he’d suffered some manner of stress induced deafness that day. But no - it had simply been the snow - falling so heavily it was as though someone, somewhere, was trying to bury the city and erase it from memory.
The Russians were coming. If there was one simple fact, in the mind of every German in the city of Breslau, and every German in the east, it was that the Russians were coming. And they were bringing terror and destruction with them. Everyone had heard of what the Russians had done in Nemmersdorf, and what they were doing to all German citizens as their furious revenge rolled its way across Poland into Germany. And so all of the German east was fleeing west towards Berlin, and Breslau, a gateway city between the east and the west, was overflowing with refugees heading west, and soldiers heading east.
Refugees, and, as Manfred had been seeing for days now, cows. And sheep. And horses. Poor farm families from eastern Silesia were herding their lives, including their cattle, west, to keep them out of the hands of the Russians. Manfred’s 9 year old mind was barely able to make sense of what he was seeing anymore - and the sight of thousands of refugees, and herds of cows and sheep - staggering through his elegant and ancient Silesian city numbed him. It was hard to believe that only a few days ago he’d been in school. And now, the world was ending.
Fighting their way against the waves of refugees, were ragged units of the German military - if “military” was still the right word for groups of old men and young boys yanked from their homes, given a Panzerfaust anti-tank weapon, and a black-red armband with the words Deutscher Volkssturm : Wehrmacht. These soldiers, sometimes struggling forward beside military vehicles, attempted to make progress against the wave of grief-stricken humanity fleeing to the west.
And all of this - the refugees and cattle heading west, the soldiers heading east, the explosions now and again as German engineers blasted the earth vainly trying to dig trenches to slow up Russian tanks - all of this happened almost in silence, as the snow simply fell, and fell, and fell, upon a dying city.
I'm Chris Tomasini.