.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

About the Recent Snowfall

Starting in the late afternoon last Friday, four or five days ago, we and much else of the Eastern Seaboard had what Reuters called an "extreme storm" -- a big snowfall, just as Weather Underground had predicted with its usual accuracy. The snow kept at it for two days, with sleet and freezing rain mixed in, and when it was over we had about 20 inches of crystalline whiteness proudly settled all over everything. In fact the place that recorded the deepest amount in the whole region was Wintergreen, the big ski resort that happens to sit many transmission-straining miles up in the mountains in the northwestern corner of this county in which we live in Virginia, Nelson. They reported 30 inches, which wasn't far from what we got, though I noted only how far it was above my boottops, which was about 10 inches. . Nothing that wasn't covered up was safe from the snow, even far under the roofs of my various decks, indicating that the wind kept shifting every which way, though by my definition, at least around here it wasn't a real blizzard as some in the media called it, as the wind wasn't strong, and the snow fell with almost absolute silence.

Among many other precautions, having been through several heavy snowstorms before, here and in D.C., we moved my wife's Saturn up close to the head of the driveway, though in her opinion not far enough, because now, days later, we still haven't actually gotten the car out on the road, which took three days for the authorities to get around to plowing. And we have two other vehicles still thoroughly trapped by all the deep, cold whiteness, at the house and at my workshop -- my little Isuzu pickup and my wife's Cadillac (which has never been driven by me) that she inherited last year from her mother.

Meanwhile a son of one of our neighbors was allowed to use his father's nearly new tractor to go around the whole neighborhood clearing driveways, and even ours, though to my wife's dismay -- though not particularly to mine as it wasn't something that he was obliged to do -- he wasn't able to get to most of ours, because the Saturn was blocking so much of it -- meaning that we would've been better off if we hadn't moved that car at all. But who knew? This is the first time that that kid had done all this snow-clearing and he doesn't even live around here.

And meanwhile the snow persists. Some of it has melted, but the nights have kept dropping to close to 20 F, and there are still a good 10 inches of the snow still left, at least here in our cool frost pocket of a little valley, and it looks as if it's going to be that unusual thing -- a white Christmas for all -- when and after which, however, after several changes in its prediction -- I guess by popular demand -- Weather Underground is now calling for some sort of ice storm.

Meanwhile this last snow has added greatly to the lore and legends around here. It seems that among our friends and neighbors, a large number of them were not nearly as hip to Weather Underground as I was, or either they didn't believe, because for various reasons of either employment or Christmas shopping , they were happily up in Charlottesville, the college metropolis 45 miles north of here, near and in which Thomas Jefferson spent so much of his life, when he wasn't messing around in Philadelphia, Washington, and Paris. And having been through many snow false alarms in recent years, they took things lightly when the snow started falling -- though not for long, because once it started, it kept coming down at an increasingly rapid rate, to the point where if you weren't as clever or as lucky as me and my wife, if by six that evening you weren't where you wanted to spend at least the next two or three days of your life and your warm, comfortable beddy-bye time, you were in the toilet, so to speak..

Consequently the many members of this group -- and I don't doubt all over the county -- ended up later with tales to tell, of the hours needed just to get out of Charlottesville, and of the misfortunes of others that they saw on the road, which was just the prelude to more hours required to get to their various far-flung homes in the county, to the point where some opted to spend the next couple of nights in places other than their homes, and others ended up stuck somewhere, sometimes not that far from home, and if they didn't want to remain penned in their cars in the cold they had to think of friends and neighbors who had four-wheel drives and who would not be completely outraged at being summoned by cellphone as late as after midnight at the height of the raging snowstorm.

But in the several sunny days since then, the world has been beautiful around here, as it always is after a good snowfall. And this is one of the many reasons why I wanted to move here those many years ago. In D.C. whenever there was a big snow, I was always deeply dismayed at how short a time it took for all the human activity to turn all the beautiful fallen flakes into a big nightmare of blackened slush and ugly tracks all over. Here the snow keeps looking almost freshly fallen right up to when the last little clump has melted into the leaves.

But an old guy like me still has to watch himself every moment when he's outdoors, which is often in my case.. The dangers of slipping on all the ice and falling, you know, and all the shoveling that's needed.



Post a Comment

<< Home