Yes, that’s meant to be like “o-face”, in case you were wondering.
I have to be honest – I miss being in blizzards. I had to cancel my trip to ski in North Carolina because of the ice and all the power outages. it just seemed dumb to attempt what is normally a 5-hour drive under those conditions. So, I’m having a nice relaxed morning here in Athens. We got a dusting of snow last night, and judging by the cars zooming by outside my front window, the roads are fine here. I’ve got snow on the brain. I guess growing up in a place where it snows so rarely, it is truly something special. Snow always makes me feel like a little kid. I remember waking up and peeking out my window to see if there was any snow, knowing that if the grass was covered there was a very good chance that we would get a snow day. Alas, I travel to Colorado next weekend to ski, so I will again get my temporary snow fix. To me, it is as addicting as that other white powdery substance is for many people.
I saw much more snow in the mid-Atlantic than I did in Colorado. Part of that was just the amount of time that lived there. Part of that was where I lived in Colorado (Fort Collins is in somewhat of a rain shadow because of the configuration of mountains to the West). The two years I lived there were fairly bad for snow. I remember that the ski areas opened later than normal both years. I was in only one big storm when heading up to the mountains with my girlfriend. It was pretty scary at times. The roads were very slick, and the traffic was stop-and-go. Every once in a while, a wind gust would break a car loose and it would slowly slide to the side of the road, where it would be stopped from a several-hundred foot plunge straight down by a guard rail. Luckily our car did not have that problem. Once we arrived at our destination, somewhere in Summit County (where I go ski all the time now), I remember staring out the window of whatever diner we were eating at, just watching the snow and being mesmerized, the way that happens when you get lost in a campfire.
During the first couple of years living in the mid-Atlantic, I met one of my best high school and college friends and his fiancée to ski over New Year’s weekend at Bellayre Mountain in the Catskills of New York. We got something like 38” of snow over the two days. I remember that when riding up the ski lift, we would be completely covered by the time we reached the top of the mountain. My little Honda Civic got stuck going up a very long and icy hill. I had to get some help for a local plow operator to make it back home from the ski area that day. I remember that I woke up very early and brushed the snow off everyone’s cars the last morning before we headed home. But I left a strip of snow down the middle of roof, making each car have a two-foot high white mohawk (or should I say snow-hawk) of sorts. Even driving up to 80 mph on the way home, the snow-hawks remained for a couple of days. That was my first big-time snowstorm.
There were also a few other good storms over the years my first few years in Delaware and Maryland.
But there was nothing like the winter of 2009 to 2010. I was still married and we lived in a farmhouse at Fair Hill. There was one early storm, dumping 8 to 12 inches before Christmas. The snow didn’t last long due to warmer temperatures, rain, and wind. However, we got two massive snowstorms / blizzards two days apart in early February. In total, they dumped between 5 and 7 feet of snow. Several things really stand out from those storms. One is the beauty. It completely transformed the landscape. A good covering of snow seems to make everything sparkle and shine, almost like creating a new world. It is everything is clean and perfect for a short time. Once the storms had ended and the sun came out, it was great fun to hike around in the fields, me making “first tracks” in the snow and a three-strong troop of doggies following in single-line formation behind me in my tracks.
Another is the raw power of nature. Snow dropping at more than an inch per hour and 40-mile winds have a way of reminding you just how tiny and insignificant humans really are compared to some forces of the natural world. I think about climate change and what it must have been like for peoples who lived in areas that slowly became more inhospitable during long cold periods or ice ages. Were they aware of the changes or were things so gradual compared to their short lifespans that they didn’t notice the increasing cold and the decreasing growing season and wildlife? if they did notice, did they attribute the changes to gods or devils? It amuses me the way that the weather people personify storms during the lead up to the climax over their multi-day storm-gasms, e.g. the weather channel girl says with a hint of excitement in her voice and a gleam in her eye, “Deadly Winter Storm [fill whatever name here] is about to unleash its fury on the mid-Atlantic states”. I can’t blame her – I get turned on by storms too.
Another thing is that it forces you into the moment. There is nothing like sipping on a warm coffee or cider drink, sitting next to a fire, and staring out the window watching a blizzard outside. Lastly, since you’re stuck indoors for a couple of days, it is a great time for making babies, or at least practicing
Sure, in some ways it can be a lot of work. We had to shovel for hours after those storms, we had to dig out tunnels to the barn to check on the horses and to give the doggies a way to move around. But to me the effort is all worth it.
To my friends in Maryland and Delaware: I’m thinking of you. I hope you are safe and warm and comfy. I’m also a little jealous. Wish I was there!
For those of you who aren’t sick of snow, here are a few pictures from those 2010 storms. Enjoy!
Hard to enjoy looking out this window.
This is just the first of the two storms.
The mailbox is disappearing!
Here is me post-holing.
Roxy-dog and Maggie joining in the fun!
Don’t forget little Reena-Jean (aka Bean-Bean and Beaner).
And the horses, Hooch and Whiskey.
The calm between storms.
White-out conditions during the storm, part deaux.
“Umm…how are we supposed to go to the bathroom?”
Mailbox down! Mailbox down!
Does this shadow make my ass look big?
Tunnel out of the house to the barn.
Your truly after fixing the mailbox. I actually enjoy shoveling snow.
The plows could only keep half of the road open because the wind kept blowing the snow across.