Just like a rainstorm, clouds gather for a snowstorm. They're low and thick and even deeper than those of Midwestern thunderstorm, moving in around a city in soft, thick blankets. As the snow begins to fall, it gets so silent, especially at night.

It will go slowly, brilliantly orange at night, like the streetlights of heaven are coming on one by one in the frozen highways of the skies. The snow will reflect it back with great, glittering crystals, and the fire of the ground will echo that of the sky.

It is thickest on the coldest nights, and most quiet, a peaceful, deadly quiet that settles in around the eaves of houses and the ears of people who lay down in drifts to die.

The nodes are gone, but once I wrote down a series of diary entries from my road trip cum move cross country from Virginia to Oregon. When I took down all my writings to keep them from being meddled with in my absence, I was secretly glad, not just because I'd run into California and stopped writing, but because they lacked the largest memories of that trip.

Those memories were of how broad and empty the plain of Iowa are, how thick the clouds in the West Virginia mountains were, and how brilliant, how ruby-red the sun was, how it made a pillar of fire, a nuclear blast in the emerald and sapphire sky of Montana as I broke free from the white-out conditions in the blizzard pass.

Or how the clouds in Donner Pass choked out the road with a blizzard, locking me into Reno and draining out my will to live.

Or the first sight of Portland gleaming as the rain stopped and the sun came out, hitting the buildings along the west side of the river and lighting up the Willamette River. It hit me like a gut bunch, like a perfect truth between the eyes, like a city lost and found. How Seattle does the same thing.

How in my dreams, it is always sunset or dawn, never the in between.

The last truth is that there is nothing like a Midwestern thunderstorm.

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