It is Wednesday, February 6, 2013. Outside it is cloudy and cold. Light snow softly falls through the crisp air. The light breeze makes it wander about like a young puppy looking for fun. For the past week I have been chasing, considering, fathoming a phantom snow storm. Only one model realized its potential almost a week ago (European model) and now the storm is two days away and is about to turn from fantasy to reality. Perhaps a snow storm of different proportions.
I am 61 years old. In my heart and soul I feel the joy of a child. It is almost as if it were going to be Christmas tomorrow and Santa Claus was going to visit. My glee is slightly dampened by the joints I know will ache but I quickly put that aside and focus on what is important.
I will put the snow plow on my truck tomorrow. Mounting it during a storm is never a good idea. Not that I haven’t done it before. The plow typically goes on easily unless there is ice in the iron channels that guide the plow arms into the frame. Once the plow is mounted I will bring in my snowshoes to melt the ice off of the cleats. There is nothing finer than a romp in deep, fresh snows with a pair of snow shoes strapped to your feet. I think I’ll also be wise and stretch out my back tomorrow. We have a lot of paths, walkways, and decks that have to be shoveled around the homestead. A stretched back is a little more resilient. And with heavy snows expected, I’d better make sure our generator is ready to go. We oftern lose power in heavy snow conditions.
I will do all this with an air of seriousness but also with a great deal of happiness in my heart. Weathering a storm, no matter how significant or insignificant, is good for the soul. It reminds you that you are alive. It restores confidence that you are competent and a survivor. It helps you to breath fresh, cold air into lungs that need invigorating. And it makes most of me feel young again despite the arthritis in my back, shoulders, and right knee. I love that it can make me forget that I do not want to remember!
The snow will be its heaviest during the night. If the snow is heavy I will plow the essential areas throughout the darkest hours. I have a small truck that can only handle moderate loads. A sacrifice that we made to reduce our carbon footprint. I like plowing at night. The headlights burning through the snow filled night air keeps me on my toes. I listen to rock and roll on the radio or play a favorite CD. I keep the drivers side window down and let the snow blow in my face. Backing up our steep hill can be a problem at night so I have to be really careful using the rear view mirrors.
When you are plowing at night it is just you, the truck, and the storm. There is a certain feeling that I get when I face a storm. I can feel the adrenaline. I exude confidence that I am competent and can master the situation. I am not out to conquer the storm, but rather to bend it in my favor. We all need to understand that the best we can do during the fury that Mother Earth can throw our way is to shape it to meet our needs in a gentle manner. That is if we are lucky enough to stay in control.
Sometimes Cooper will ride along and supervise me. His long droopy bloodhound ears swing to and fro as he tries to see where we are going. If he turns his head too fast long lines of sloppy drool get thrown onto the inside of the windshield. Still, its worth it, you should see him smiling the whole time he rides beside me pushing snow with the truck and plow.
Adia, our female bloodhound, is too nervous in a truck plowing snow. When I have tried to share the cab of the truck with her during plowing expeditions she pants incessantly and drool falls from her mouth like a waterfall. I’d need to line the cab of the truck with a giant sponge to catch it all. She’s more comfortable running around in a storm than she is riding along while I’m plowing. She has always been one to be out in nature rather than observing it.
The Weather Channel has dubbed the impending storm with the name Nemo. How appropriate. Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne piloted the Nautilus a fictional submarine that explored the bottom of ocean in the late 19th century. Nemo was a genius who was racked with guilt from losing a submarine crew and whose ego and intensity drove him to the point of madness. How apt a name for this dangersous storm.
So, here I am. A storm that hasn’t even happened yet has stuck in my craw. Some say we will measure the snow in feet. I am dizzy with excitement. I am beside myself with joy. And even before it happens it is very real.
This phantom storm. I am waiting. We will face off the day after tomorrow.
I am hoping for a draw.
Written for www.wildramblings.com in February 2012.