March 01, 2022

Snow in the morning.


The snow doesn’t give a soft white damn whom it touches.

-E. E. Cummings


The snow gives a dry crunch as I compress it from five inches to something like one inch with a step.  It’s about 9 AM and small granulated-sugar-like flakes are falling.  A blizzard has us in its grip, with winds gusts of around 40 mph.  The storm was forecast, so I knew better than to try for the rail-trail.  Even if I was willing to fight all that deep snow, which I am not, I wouldn’t be able to find a place to park the car, because the city would be busy keeping the streets relatively free of ice and snow and wouldn’t be clearing parking lots until tomorrow.  In the past, I’ve tried parking my car off the side of the road for the two to three hours Waldo and I walk, and it was towed by the police.  Their excuse was that I abandoned it.  At any rate, we stayed home and just walked around the grounds where we live.  Waldo won’t care – he just wants to be outside.  To him all outsides are good.  The only downside is that we won’t be able to burn off all his frenetic Waldo-energy and he’ll be a little antsier throughout the day.  But he tolerates it well.

When we don’t hit the rail-trail, we usually walk a little over a half-mile five or six times throughout the day.  Each loop normally takes us 10 to 15 minutes to complete, when the weather is nice.  Our first jaunt on this morning, several hours after the storm began, was a struggle even then.  The snow was already deep enough to make me lift my feet high from one step to the next.  The entire walk made me feel like I was going up stairs.  It didn’t help that there was still an underlying uneven sheet of ice left over from the last storm, so the going was a little slippery.  Between taking big steps and slipping on the slick bottom layer, I worked up a good sweat and was huffing and puffing in no time.  I had to rest every few hundred yards and it took us a little more than half an hour to complete the trek.

Waldo was in his element, bounding around like a gazelle, and I think he was, if not a little pissed, at least frustrated by my slow progress.  But it did give us more time outdoors, which he dearly loves.  He spent most of his time looking for sticks.  All the good ones were hiding under the snow, but that didn’t provide him with much of a challenge.  He would disappear under a bush for a moment, then reappear with a branch he tore from the main stem.  Prancing proudly forward with his prize, he then swaggered off to the end of the leash, brandishing the thing back and forth in some imagined glory.  That dog can find a way to have fun no matter what the weather is doing.

All the other birds and animals must have decided to hole-up.  Not only did we not see or hear any, we couldn’t see any evidence of their passing – no tracks, no spore of any kind. Usually, I see rabbit raisins left on the ground where they have grazed on the grass, but there was not even that.  There may have been some buried in the snow that I couldn’t see, I suppose.  Between the wind and the continually falling snow, it wouldn’t take long to bury whatever might be on the surface.  The snow came down heavy enough that three hours or so after doing our loop once, there was no evidence of it the next time we passed that way.

The wind was blustery.  I’m quite sure Waldo and I were out in some of those 40 mph blasts.  The temperature was hovering around 0℉ with wind chill, and the cold icy crystals of whiteness from the wind-blown falling snow mixed with that whipped up from the ground to cut into my exposed cheeks like shards of glass.  Combined with the moisture from my breath that condensed, then froze, on my mustache, it all soon grew into icicles hanging down over my lips.  When I looked at Waldo, I couldn’t see any icicles.  If he had any, he shook them off, except for those on his feet.

In between gusts of wind, the air still swirled around anything in its way, creating gentler eddies.  At one point in the storm, I looked out the sliding glass door of my balcony to see flakes of snow hanging in midair as if frozen in time.  That only lasted a brief moment and then the wind carried them elsewhere.  Toward the end of the storm, after dark, the wind died down some and the flakes became large, seemingly massless, puffs of spiculated whiteness, like a small wisp of cotton.  They fell gently toward the ground and lingered on whatever they hit momentarily, before becoming incorporated with the accumulated whiteness that covered everything.  By the end of the storm, we accumulated some 17 inches.

At last, it feels like winter has fully arrived.


And even more snow at night.

Leave a Reply