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‘Conflicted:’ a love / hate relationship with winter

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Tom Vandel's snow-covered Glacier Condo porch in Big Sky. PHOTO BY TOM VANDEL

By Tucker Harris

BIG SKY ­– For poet Tom Vandel, Montana is both home and inspiration. A Billings native, he attended the University of Montana, and now splits his time between Big Sky and Portland, Oregon.

Vandel is currently working on a collection of his poems that will be published in the fall of 2022. The collection will center around the theme “On the road home,” Vandel said. This theme stems from “The Wizard of Oz” and Elton John’s album “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”—two very influential works for Vandel.

His poems focus on figuring out how to get home again and are based on nostalgic stories from his youth alongside more current stories from his life. Vandel makes a point to write simple poems that are accessible to many different readers, he said.

“Conflicted” centers around Vandel’s love/hate relationship with winter and, more specifically, snow. In a witty reflection, he finished writing “Conflicted” while looking out of his Glacier condo window in March this year at the snow blanketing his porch. On one hand, nature can be cruel, doing whatever it wants to, Vandel said. But on the other hand, he appreciates the beauty and quiet that comes with it.

As this latest snowstorm continues to dump, there are some folks who are ready for the snow to melt while others are not ready to let go of the winter season and the magic it creates in a ski town. It truly can be a love/hate relationship.

Conflicted

By Tom Vandel

She arrived late last night, again.

Out of the blue. No word she was coming.

No call, no text saying, hey, can I drop by and see you?

Just showed up unannounced. I found her when

I woke this morn and spotted her white

fur coat, tossed next to the door.  

It gave me a chill.

You’d think

I’d be

used to

it by now. 

We’ve had our

issues over the years.

She’s the reason my toes are

always cold. It was due to her

the little buggers got frostbit when

I was twelve years old. When I stuck my feet

in a tub of hot water and bawled in agony, she turned

a cold shoulder. Her uncaring nature irks me to no end.

Still, we often enjoy being together.

She can get down and hit the

town hard. And then,   

she can also be

extremely

quiet. 

Not full

of herself,

like Spring or Summer.

And oh my god, she can be so

sublimely beautiful it takes my breath away.

But rude, ya know?

To be honest,

I’m never

sorry to

see her

go.

Visit tomvandel.substack.com/ to read more of Tomorrow Vandel’s poems and writings.

Tom Vandel is a writer living in Portland, Oregon and Big Sky, Montana. He is author of four books. His latest is a collection of short stories titled “The Broken World”. Prior to that he wrote and published “A Killer Story”, a crime noir novel with memoir undertones that takes place in New Orleans, Portland, and Montana. He has also collaborated with artist, Karen Wippich, on two art books. One is based on the Covid-19 pandemic, “Strange Days: A Pandemic Journey”. An earlier release, “Driving Strangers: Diary of an Uber Driver”, features the author’s snarky musings of driving for Uber, matched with the artist’s warped profile images from her various paintings.

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