Dec. 19, 2012. A man and woman discuss the snowstorm.
“I’m going to work.”
“But the snow.”
“The governor will never cancel.”
“They’re saying not to go out.”
December 20, 2012. I woke to a dazzling frozen world: 12.4 inches of snow had fallen. It was our first real snowfall of the year. We had a little mushy stuff one day. That didn’t count.
I went to the kitchen to make tea.
Had my husband gone to work?
All the lights were on.
Perhaps he had to run for the bus.
No, he was out shoveling. I counted three men with snowblowers, blasting up and down the block, helping neighbors dig out. My husband prefers to shovel.
He took the day off. The buses weren’t running.
I stepped outside and took a few pictures, then ran inside shrieking because it was so cold.
He walked to the gym. It was closed. There was a power outage. He walked to the neighborhood store and bought noodles. The lights were out, and they couldn’t sell refrigerated or frozen food, but they had a generator and the cash register was working.
I was content to hang out at home in pajamas, the ones with the dancing coffee cups. I curled up and read Anthony Trollope’s Phineas Finn.
Dec. 21, 2012. Today I actually went out on a walk.
I wore long underwear, a turtleneck, thick wooly sweater, jeans, parka (good for down to 10 below), a hand-knitted scarf, hat, headphones (grooving on the tunes), my hood, and boots. The snow was deep. I walked slowly.
Our block was shoveled, but elsewhere it was a bit wild. Some trees were down. I maneuvered around an evergreen tree whose snowy branches swept the ground like a dryad’s hair. Sparrows chirped in a bush. Occasionally I had to walk in the street.
On the corner of a well-traveled, packed-down main street, the snow had been banked high by a snowplow, and I couldn’t climb over it. The traffic was roaring. People had lost a day of shopping. They had to get to the mall. I finally found a gap in the bank and scuttled across the street.
I kept thinking about my bicycle. As I admired the beautiful snow, I imagined coasting downhill in the bike lane.
I miss my bike. I miss the warmth.
I wanted to walk to Smokey Joe’s.
I couldn’t get there.
A few more months, I thought.
Winter is beautiful.
In my constantly snowbound childhood, my mother wasn’t keen on winter. She bundled us up in more wool than the average child had to wear, and anxiously made us promise to keep buttoned up. “Don’t lose the mittens.” I always lost the mittens.
After one bad storm, my mother wanted to keep us inside as much as possible. “The wool has to dry,” she said wildly. She promised us all kinds of rewards if we stayed home. I remember one especially bad blizzard, reading one Nancy Drew book after another. Every time I finished one, she sent my dad out to buy more. After a while, I had almost a complete set.
One night my dad couldn’t stand it. There we were, playing exactly the same board games over and over.
“We’re going to a movie.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” my mother said.
“It’s okay out there.”
“It’s slippery. It’s NOT safe.”
Another man and woman discussed a snowstorm.
But, as so often happens, she had no power. And she wouldn’t let him take us to a movie alone in this weather, so we all piled into the car. My dad drove badly on purpose, veering and sliding from one side to the other of the street, laughing.
Ha ha, we kids said.
My mother was worried. “Stop it!”
I enjoyed the slipping, but saw her point of view. I was beginning to think like a woman. In other words, I was developing common sense.
We were the only people in the theater. My mother made us take our coats off because she thought it was unhealthy to wear them indoors. (I still think that when I see people in theaters sitting in their coats.) We had popcorn and Cokes.
There she was, a woman who hated snow, isolated in a cold theater with two children and a man.
The movie was very funny, and we were united again when we got home.
One day of a blizzard is just about all anyone can take.