Blizzard Blessings

Living in northern Wisconsin, I am used to winter starting early and ending late. We had a good snow earlier, but then it gradually melted. We’ve had bare ground for several weeks now.

Today Mom and I spent the whole day at the house we are helping to pack up for our friends. We’ve nearly got the upstairs conquered. Tonight, and by that I mean 5 pm, I went out in the darkness to put a couple things in the truck and was surprised and a bit alarmed at the weather. It had been raining, just above the freezing point, all day. The water had been dripping off the roof onto a pile of metal bound for the recycling station, making a loud sound like a running faucet. But now, it was snowing and the wind had picked up. There were two inches of white stuff on the ground already and clouds of it were being hurled around, blizzard style.

My truck door opened with a crack, breaking a film of ice. I hurried back in to help Mom out and once in the truck we wondered if the wipers would be able to clear the windshield. I have a scraper somewhere in the back seat but it was buried beneath the boxes of things we were taking home to sort out. We were able to see out the front after a few swipes of the wipers, and I lowered both front windows to clear them enough to see the lights of other cars on the street.

We live only about a mile from where we were working and I was glad of that. The road was snow covered and no longer had edges and lane markings. The few cars that were out were going slowly and following each other’s tracks. A deep enough layer of snow removes all boundaries and landmarks, making everything look strangely unfamiliar.

But it is exciting. Whereas we were having a relatively boring, predictable weather pattern, now, SOMETHING WAS DEFINITELY HAPPENING!!

The wind blew most of it off. The rest of it will melt and go down the drain.

We made it home without mishap. I was glad to push the button and see my garage door go up. What a blessing to have a warm, dry place to drive into. Tomorrow the blessings will continue because we will have a good excuse to stay at home and sort through the boxes and bags of our friend’s belongings. Staying at home will be restful, even though there is plenty to do. I need the change. For us, at least this time, the blizzard is our friend.

I got about 7,000 of my steps today going up and down the stairs where I was working. It was easy to get the last 3,000 on the treadmill. And now I am ready to turn out the lights and be snug in bed, listening to the howling fury outside.

Serious Snow

20131205_154355I hate to go on and on about weather events but this time spent in Wisconsin has been such a wonderful reminder of winter that it is worthy of remarks, lots of them.

First, I have to say how noticeable it is that it’s dark at 4:30 pm. And it’s still quite dark at 7:30 in the morning – the automatic yard lights are still on.

It snowed for two days. Travel advisories were issued. We decided not to have my daughter drive the three and a half hours to the airport on slippery, wet roads. We had to make other flight arrangements. There is a great deal of anxiety in trying to figure out what the weather is going to be like and how it will affect the plans you’ve made. It is much easier just to give up and enjoy being snowed in.

At one point during the second day it began to rain.  Ice formed on the roads and sidewalks that had been cleared. Tree branches that had been heavy with snow got even heavier with ice. Toward the end of the snowfall the temperature began to drop and the wind began to blow. Snow drifted over the icy surfaces, and more of it fell.  The snowplows were out as well as the salt trucks. After dinner, my brother plowed the roads and driveways in our subdivision. The children went out to shovel the walks. The snowmobile was brought out of storage and they all took turns packing trails for skiing on the neighborhood green-space (white-space?). It was dark and cold, but strangely exciting as well.20131204_22495320131204_225002

There was the strangest light in the sky – not from the moon, but from every light in town that was reflected back and forth between the cloud cover and the white landscape. The appearance was kind of “other worldly”.

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This morning it was about 8 degrees F. and the snow had stopped falling. However, the wind was still blowing it off the roofs and drifting it on the roads so it seemed as harsh as before.  Common sights around town – icicles hanging off the eaves, cars and trucks with white snow caps and  ice covered windows, slush and salt on the roads. And cold, cold, cold…  Away from town, all was white. Snow is whiter than you can imagine when it’s clean and fresh.

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Do you know how carefully you have to walk when outside in this kind of weather? Seriously, every step has to be tested because a fall can be more than just awkward. It can be dangerous. To go out, you have to consider what kind of boots to wear,and how many layers of coats/jackets to put on. You have to keep track of your gloves, a scarf and a hat or you will freeze.  And every time you go back in a building all these things have to be taken off and stored. Wet things have to dry. It is time consuming and tends to inhibit going outside. You watch a lot of TV, particularly the weather channel.

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All this amounts to a culture of sorts.  People who get used to this are proud of their ability to last through the winter, and they would probably admit that there is something about winter that they like. I like it too (but I only have to like it for two weeks. It lasts for… oh, six months? Yeah.)  I’m just sayin… glad to be here. Brrr…