So, it’s the Snowpocalyps, Snowmageddon, from the spin in the atmosphere, and the 50+ miles per hour winds, they might have called it a snowicane, but no matter what you call it, there’s a blizzard of epic proportions crushing the DC area right now. 16-26 inches of snow on top of what I was told was 8 inches earlier in the week, in DC anyway.
And I’m here in a pair of shorts, doors and windows open, I drove to the store with the top down on the car earlier this afternoon … it’s about 65 degrees, the breeze is up fresh, and the sun is sh ining here in the sunshine state.
It’s why we live here.
Growing up in the Midwest and having lived in the DC area for 11 years, I can remember some serious snow events. In 1978, when I was in college, a storm blew through the Midwest and dumped a nearly two feet of snow on the campus of Indiana University, along with large swatches of the rest of the region. I was hunkered down in my dorm room, knowing the pizza place was within easy walking distance, worrying about the girl I was dating at the time driving from Oxford, Ohio back to Bedford to her parents house. She made it, after a quick stop in Bloomington to tell me she wasn’t stopping.
Fast forward 18 years to January, 1996, when we lived in Fort Washington, Maryland. I’d just traded my Toyota MR2 (big mistake) on a Ford Explorer. I’d had the truck a week, when one of these same storms plowed up the east coast, dumping a couple of feet of snow on the region. I was thrilled. I’d just gotten the 4WD SUV, and I was going to get out to play in the snow … or at least be able to get to work on Monday. We lived at the bottom of a fairly steep hill, and up the hill was the only way out of the housing development. Earlier, during an ice storm, we’d literally put Jenni in a cardboard box and slid her (in a controlled fashion, mind you) down to the house … leaving the mini-van at the top of the hill for a couple of days until the ice melted. She thought it was good fun, but all I could think about were the various knee injuries I’d sustained over the years, and could I make it to the bottom of the hill, trying to keep the box with my only child in it from getting away and careening down into the woods at the end of the street.
I managed both.
So today, as the weather in so much of the country is frightful, I’m in shorts, with the windows open, driving to the store with the top down. I live here on purpose.
But I do feel just a smidge guilty. A snowfall like this is beautiful … for about 20 minutes. One of my friends living in the DC area said the snow shoveling makes him feel like Sisyphus pushing the giant boulder up the mountain, only to have it roll back down. I’ve played in the snow, camped in the snow, built fires in a snow bank to stay warm, tobogganed down from the 13th green on the Otis Park Golf Course, and shoveled and scraped and dug and salted and pushed the car out of the ditch been-there-done-that …. scene!
Now, it does get bad in that kind of weather when the power goes out, which it has in large areas around DC. At least when a tropical weather event takes out the power lines here, it’s usually warm weather and you don’t have to worry about freezing to death. There are plenty of other ways to be injured or killed in a hurricane, including hypothermia if you get wet and chilled, but freezing to death is not likely to be one of them. Other than that, they’re not that dissimilar. High winds, heavy precipitation, downed powerlines and trees, damaged homes and buildings … sound familiar. I’ll grant you, a blizzard doesn’t usually knock down houses or won’t wipe out entire towns like hurricanes can, but in the aggregate, a blizzard like the one happening now is a lot like a frozen tropical storm.
Still, I’m thankful to be experiencing this one vicariously through Facebook and the news, just as all those folks are happy to be doing the same thing when the rain here is blowing sideways and the night sky is lit up electric blue as the transformers cook off on their poles. Meantime, I’ll continue to feel just a bit guilty about sitting here in my shorts, with the windows open, watching the grass already beginning to turn green.
We’ve had our month of winter.