falling faintly and faintly falling

It’s snowing.

These days, with the warming of North Carolina and the rest of the globe, we don’t see snow very often.

So tonight, when the rain changed over, Facebook statuses began to buzz with sightings of snow.

My friend Robert Jones says it’s snowing as he drives down West Bank Street.

Cindi Graham responds, reporting that Statesville Boulevard is covered in white.

I notice that a couple of hours earlier, the Salisbury Post asks Facebookers if they’ve seen any snow.

Yes, they had. Everywhere. On Fulton Street. In China Grove. In Rockwell, Granite Quarry, and Spencer.

Snow was general all over Rowan County.

All this is just to say that I love snow, and I love to be reminded of the one of the most famous and most beautiful passages in all of literature, the last paragraph of James Joyce’s “The Dead.”

“A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, on the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”

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