D&H Drugstore in Blizzard
In early February 2011 Columbia was hit by a blizzard. This storm was not a hyperbolic blizzard, or something that resembled a blizzard…it was a blizzard by definition. Twenty inches of snow fell, temperatures dropped, winds howled…and this photograph was taken during the height of the blizzard of 2011. D&H Drug is not far from my home, and as much as I would have liked to wander the streets of downtown Columbia, photographing all my favorite locations under a two-foot blanket of snow, my car was stuck in the driveway, and my street was unplowed. So, I walked.
I walked from my house to West Boulevard, met my brother, who like me was also strangely interested in walking around in a blizzard, then the both of us walked all the way down Broadway to Glenwood. At that point the plummeting temperatures I mentioned began to take their toll on our faces and fingers, so we began to walk back. On my way back home, I stopped in the parking lot of D&H to get a few photos of this view of the building, with one lonesome vehicle slowly navigating the snowbound lanes of West Broadway.
For a few years I had a framed copy of this print hanging in my study. Looking at the photograph now, it takes my mind to two different places in literature…Robert Frost’s “Stopping By Woods on A Snowy Evening”, and Wallace Stevens’ “The Snow Man”. It also takes me to a time in our local history when this very corner of West and Broadway was the western limit of our town, and this stretch of Broadway was known as the Columbia-Rocheport Toll Road. On the very spot I had my tripod set up to take this photograph was a crude toll booth designed to collect a fee from any horse or wheeled vehicle entering or leaving Columbia by this privately maintained route. And sometime during the history of that early road, there was very likely a similar blizzard, on a similar winter’s night, with an early resident taking a long and wistful view of that stretch of road leading west and away from our early town of Columbia.
“For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.”
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”