Saturday, December 11, 2010


Here are a few nice things about a blizzard:

  • A blizzard makes everything look so peaceful (at least from indoors). For once, the busy intersection a block from our house is abandoned; not only abandoned, but obliterated. It's as if the Apocalypse came early, but softly.
  • A blizzard brings neighbors together in grim solidarity. This is particularly true on our block, where we share an alleyway. For some reason, the city does not plow the alley, leaving us neighbors to go at it with shovels. One of us will see another brave soul out there with a shovel, and pretty soon there are a handful of us working in concert, making small talk, catching up on news -- basically, everything that has happened since last winter, which would be the last time we spoke like this. People gladly shovel one another's walkways and driveways. (Easy to do when the driveways are less than 10 feet long.) And then the guy with the snow blower comes just as everyone is about to drop dead of a heart attack and finishes the job off. We turn inside, the informal block party over.
  • A blizzard is exciting. One of my neighbors admitted this sheepishly as she was shoveling the front walk with me. But, deep inside, everyone knows this. The grocery store last night, crazy busy with people stocking up, was a hum of excitement. A common crisis -- especially one that we can weather out in warm homes in front of the TV -- brings out the best in people. At the very least, it gives them something to talk about in the checkout line.
  • A blizzard breaks the normal routine. Can't return those books to the library. Can't run to the hardware store for the parts for that project. Can't go shopping. Oh well; guess I have to stay home and bake cinnamon raisin bread while listening to stories on CD.
  • It builds character. "Go back outside," we tell the kids. "It's only 25 degrees. You'll have fun." Back in my day, we played in the snow until well past dark.
As I write this, it's still snowing -- something like 15 inches and counting. The wind is blowing at the windows, but the kids are asleep and it's warm inside. And I can smell the cinnamon bread baking in the oven....*

* Blizzard enjoyment is greatly improved by a wife who is willing
to shovel the walk at 10 p.m.