Our porch gnome slowly getting buried in snow yesterday.
What to Do During a Blizzard
Start a fire. Not as your ancestors did,
but with a hermetically sealed log
made of compressed wood chips.
Watch the wrapping paper on the log
curl and drift, as the wood below ignites.
Move your favorite chair near the fireplace.
Pile on blankets. Add pets, if available.
Drink hot tea. Pile your tea cups next to your chair,
facing the fire, so they remain warm.
Mark the growth of snow, in any way you can.
Some ideas include: photographs of snow drifts,
time spent staring out the window,
instances of checking the news for updated totals,
or the developing sense of itchiness in your muscles.
Watch cars on the street outside your window
careen into side streets, stick in four-foot drifts.
Watch neighbors descend on the car with snow shovels,
like vultures on carrion. See how they carve
the snow off the tires, strip the car clean.
Hear the slip of tire against ice, the heave-ho as they rock
the car back onto the road. Wait for the next vehicle
to get further embedded. Realize, much too late,
that you forgot to pick up beverages, extra food,
activities for the indoors. Wonder how you’ll ever find it,
how you’ll ever survive without it. Dress in layers,
if you have them. Acceptable layers include: long johns, snow pants,
heavy socks, turtlenecks, scarves and hats. Your lingering
Thanksgiving weight gain. Walk outdoors, down to the corner store
three blocks away. Call it an adventure
as you step and leap, rise and fall on the uneven path of snow.
Breathe heavy into your scarf, fog your glasses
and wipe them clean. See all those other idiots driving on the streets
tread slowly on uncleared streets. See the city bus getting towed.
Call it an adventure when you make it to the store, miraculously open. Call it
an adventure on the way home, your precious items
tucked under your arms. Call it an adventure when
you set it all aside, choose to fall into a shallow drift
and wave your arms in the snow, leaving your
imprint in angel form behind you.
If you live in Minnesota or know any Minnesotans online, then you know that yesterday was a particularly Minnesotan day. We experienced a major blizzard. In fact, in terms of accumulation, it was one of our Top 5 Blizzards in recorded weather history. (Yes, I am strangely proud of this fact.) We had 17.10 inches of snowfall, starting around 11 PM or so on Friday night and ending sometime after midnight on Saturday.
For once, the city shut down. This is rare for us in Minnesota. We normally just keep going, because we’re Minnesotans. Normal snow falls are the cost of living here. But over a foot is extraordinary, even for this state. Yesterday, most stores and schools shut down. The city buses stopped running. The plows were pulled from the road, due to visibility issues. Even the Minnesota Rollergirls postponed their bout. During an event like this, the only thing that you can do is watch.
Even though I was seriously squirrelly from being stuck inside all day, I enjoyed the opportunity for enforced slowness. I had an extra day off of work (I work many Saturdays), so I had the gift of an unplanned day. I read books. I read my writer’s group packets, even though we canceled today’s writer’s group. I drank tea. I played cards with my husband. It was a beautiful day.
Now, we’re stuck with the aftermath, which isn’t as beautiful. We’re going to have slowly burrow our way our of condo, get food for the week, and remember what it’s like to scrabble over three-foot snowbanks just to cross the street.