The Snow


The woods are barren; her trees are naked of their leaves; the grass is brown and frayed. Their needles, some long, some short, some bent, some broken, stands stiffly in the winters breeze which whistles through those barren trees. This guy is dull, dingy, ashen gray. The air is heavy, damp and cold. We see the starting of a snow. Leaning backward and lifting our chins heavenward, we gaze into the overcast sky, looking for those silvery flakes which lazily waivered down to our brown barren earth. Sounds from the distant tanks and trucks and the low pitched boom of artillery fade slowly from our ears. The scene becomes obscure; the trees, whose great branches reach up, gradually are shut off with the growing curtain of snow.


The dark gloom of night settles upon the land and the soldiers borrow into haystacks to conserve their body warmth. Straw is pulled from one place to another; like animals the men strive to cover themselves. At dawn men begin to stir. Some stand stiffly in the crunchy snow while others swing their arms to quicken their blood. Chow is being served; three large cans are steaming. Soldiers, with rifles slung over their shoulders, dip their greasy mess gear into the fast cooling water. The breakfast it is thrown into the pan with a thump. Silently men to eat their breakfast amid the falling snow. Word is passed; it is time to go. The men are marching off forming two long files. The quiet is deafening. The only sounds are the crunching snow beneath the feet, one’s breath, and the hissing sound of the falling snow. Two columns of men, one on each side of the narrow road, march from the valley upward into the sloping hill, where the evergreen trees partially hide the road. The snow is now 6 inches deep; the bows of the evergreen trees sag under the heaps of wet heavy snow. Occasionally there were loud sounds as the heaps of snow fell from a bow and caused a minor avalanche in the tree. The column stopped for a 10 minute rest and defused beneath the trees. Like Robert Frost, in his “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy evening,” we stopped without a farmhouse near and with thoughts we held so dear. The woods where lovely in the early dawn; the brown nettles on the forest floor were covered with snow and seen no more. The memory of the white snow lying upon the dark green boughs, of the brightening morning sky, of the pure white road winding upward I keep. Twas time to go; the men formed again their twin files onto the road–a beauty that only God can make.


The quiet of that morning air was first broken by the sobs of a soldier in despair; he had, perhaps too much time to think of the home and friends left far behind. Then came those monster tanks whose squeaking cogs and whirring engines pierced the peacefulness of a quiet morning air. To maneuver the great monster, the driver would break one set of tracks and then the other, raping the beautiful snow covered road, ripping out dark brown earth and flinging it across the white covered ground. Before noon had come more than earth marred that heavenly snow: there was the blackened earth from artillery shells, and the crimson red blood of soldiers did flow.