Let it snow

SNOWFLAKE

My first memory of snow is from, of all places, Texas. I was younger than four, living in Trinidad Texas. I had done something which was going to result in a spanking, so I ran out the back door, and was unable to move. Must have been a drift, there was snow up to my waist. I recall the confusion, the unexpected barrier was both scary and fascinating. After the inevitable spanking, my mother made ice cream with the snow.

I can look back on the experience (which is rather amazing in itself, I have about a dozen distinct memories from Trinidad) and see it as a formative moment. An entirely new substance, which fell from the sky, which could turn into ice cream. What an incredible planet I found myself on! As I got older and examined the incident it became even more interesting. Living on an island in Texas named for a Caribbean nation, hydrogen bonds creating hexagon based crystals which lock together turning an inch of rain into a foot of snow. Memories of a three year old that remain strong fifty years later. A lifetime of incongruity.

It snowed a few more times while I lived in Texas, once in Dallas we built an igloo. Twenty years later I found myself back in Dallas as an adult, four inches (10cm) of snow causing panic, without snow removal equipment the city was a catastrophe, tire chains were placed on the Police cars to handle the “treacherous” road conditions. In the interim I had been skiing in the mountains of several states, and lived in New Jersey and Pennsylvania through some heavy Winters. The biggest road hazard was not the snow, it was the other drivers.

The severity of a snowstorm is best measured by the affected area’s ability to adjust. Snow in the Northeastern States is routine, they are better prepared for snow removal than areas in which snow is rare. As a young man in North New Jersey I drove a car with a four inch ground clearance (and a pointed nose) through drifts higher than my bumpers, driving in snow was an excellent exercise in inertial navigation. My Subaru makes it far too easy.

Imagine my dismay upon returning to the Northeast a few years later. I might retain memories for a lifetime, but my neighbors could not recall how to deal with snow from one year to the next. The first snowstorm each year is a disaster, even a dusting is more than some people can handle. There is another “tradition of ignorance” that amazes me even more, which I refer to as “French toast syndrome.” Rooted in the days before commercial bakeries and dairies, the days before a forecasted storm there is a rush on the grocery stores as families stock up on bread, milk, and eggs. The supermarket I frequented in South Philadelphia placed those items near the door in winter so people could grab everything and get out quickly. People who don’t even use these staples anymore go out and buy them before a storm.

Which brings me to today.

We’ve had a few inches of accumulation, and the forecasts suggest there may be a foot (30cm) of snow tomorrow night. I probably won’t go to Gallucio’s, my typical Monday night of music and dancing will most likely take place at home (If anyone would care to join me, the couch folds out to a bed). Most annoying, it is time for my weekly shopping trip, and crowded grocery stores remove the joy (yes, I love shopping for food) from the excursion.

The cold still paralyses me, shutting down my motor control and causing immense pain from direct exposure, but I do love the snow. I can bundle up, looking rather healthy in heavy clothes, and adapt to the environment. A warmer climate would probably be better for me, but then I couldn’t dress like this.

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If you live in this part of the country, relax. Snow is an above ground reservoir, allowing moisture to slowly melt into the ground for next Spring’s seeds. It absorbs sound, muffling humanity’s noise allowing an undisturbed view of nature’s beauty. With any luck it will knock out the power, forcing you to actually talk with your loved ones. Get out and make snow angels, make a snow Al Gore, make ice cream.

 

 

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3 comments on “Let it snow

  1. Mari Collier says:

    LOL A fun read. I was two the first time I remember snow. I was outside playing in the snow covered yard. The neighbors drove by and honked their horn at me. I was so excited I ran in and told my mother. Mama made ice cream from snow also. My hands were frostbit when I was five. My brother and I were making snow angels and the snow went inside my gloves or mittens. One of the most beautiful nights was when huge, as large as your hand snowflakes fell on Christmas Eve. I’ve seen snow up as high as the second floor windows. You are right about snow drivers they do not know how to drive anymore. It is impossible for me to dress warm enough to erase the effects of the cold turning me into a zombie. Have a wonderful evening. I hope someone much closer drops by.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mike R says:

    Growing up in Central Texas, snow rarely accumulated. Ice storms were the variation. When I later enlisted in the military I remember first dealign with a season of snow in Korea. Broke my leg on the ice trying to photograph snowflakes one Christmas. Later I would live in Alaska and experience the muffled and frozen world that comes after a heavy snowfall. My current property is at 4100 feet of elevation and just at the snow line. In that I’ve got a quarter of a mile of dirt road, snow, even for a few days, is a threat to begin able to leave the house. Two winters ago I was stuck for several days when there was a bad combo of freezing raid followed by snow. Looked fine to drive with all-weather tires or off-road tires, but even chains were not enough. But even in that is a great blessing–being faced with your human limits and the magnificent power of God to do as he wills.

    Liked by 1 person

    • kblakecash says:

      Exactly, it opens the pleasures of solitude and self reliance to be isolated by the weather. I hope people grasp the opportunity, and find it useful to create solitude on their own in the future.

      Like

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