Snow Over It
Guess what? It’s snowing again. Did someone forget to tell Mother Nature that this is not the Nantucket Way? On Nantucket, the worst winters consist of a weekly snow event, with at least a semi-thaw in between, like in the early 90’s. I remember it snowed every Wednesday for at least six week one winter, and the way I remember this is because we were living in Tom Nevers at the time, and Wednesday was bingo night at the VFW. I would see the lights of the cars crawling out the road to the Naval Base, at about 7 mph, a dedicated bunch of gamers. Often I would join them to meet some of my coworkers, grateful that I lived close by. It is highly doubtful that I would have made the long, slow trek otherwise.
Last year we had some epic storms, with dramatic drifts on the beach at Nobadeer, one being a perfect perch for the only snowy owl I’ve ever spotted. (It spotted us long before we saw it, I think, and the dogs wandered around under its nose, completely unaware.) I remember that it was beastly cold, and I was relieved when the search was over; I grabbed a few grainy shots with my phone, and headed home to the fireplace. “Spring” arrived in March, punctuated with a massive blizzard that had the house rumbling in 80 knot wind gusts like a freight train. But by the weekend, rain had turned it all to slush. I can handle slush. What I’m not handling so well these days is ice.
As magical as the falling snow is at the moment, I realize it is merely a gentle cover to my deadly enemy: the thick, impenetrable layer of ice, which surrounds my fortress of warmth. It threatens my trip to and from my big-ass truck, which safely carries me through and over it, should I muster up the courage to venture out. It ruins the idea of dog walks … I’ve gone down hard on the “soft” part of our frozen dirt road in the past, and was luckily only bruised, not broken. The Boulevarde, our route to civilization, almost thawed since the first traumatic storm (When/what was that? Juno? I’m suppressing the horrible memory, so long ago), but then it snowed at the beginning of the week, and turned the dips and curves back into the bunny slope of an Eastern ski resort: packed, slippery, and not much fun.
And let’s not discuss my driveway, with its massive puddle, famous for consuming a trash truck a few weeks ago. The mini icebergs are disguised under a fresh three inches of powder, but their teeth are just as lethal, as is the unfrozen water below. It seeped into one of Number Two Son’s wheels the other day, and froze it solid. Unknowingly on three-wheel power, he backed into the monster the other day, and got stuck. His dad managed to yank him out with a tow strap, and he three-wheeled it into the guest parking space, high and dry for a day. Somehow it thawed, but I see he’s parked back in Puddleville, such a creature of habit.
Number One Son escaped with his girlfriend to the joy of 80 degrees in Miami, but not before checking on his landlord’s house the night before their departure. He discovered that it had turned into a branch of the Lapland’s famous Icehotel, due to a burst pipe on the second floor. The homeowner, who declined a suggestion in December that they drain the pipes for the winter, is certainly not alone, we know. Disaster abounds, while friends on Facebook taunt us with their vacation pictures of waves and rainbows in Tortola. I posted wave pictures too: frozen, slushy ones, that someone else took. There are incredible shots of ice along the south shore, in the harbor, in the Sound … that someone else took. I’m enjoying these sights vicariously, from Surfside Siberia. The stress of trying to go anywhere is almost too much to bear.
So I sit, staring out the window, repeating our new, winter mantra: “It’s pretty!” Yes, it’s pretty, especially when the flakes are floating gently, and the dogs are snorkeling for field mice and voles under the surface, their noses covered in crystals. It’s pretty as long as I can keep the house at a balmy 63 degrees, with a steady supply of cheese, soup, and chocolate for sustenance. It’s pretty, until I need to squeeze into a pair of jeans with long underwear, rendered impossible due to my ungodly winter diet. It’s pretty until I need to clear and start the truck, or I hear someone attempting to navigate the driveway. Right now, the wind is picking up, and the temperature is dropping. I’m repeating, “It’s pretty,” through gritted teeth. We have quite a few weeks of “pretty” to go, apparently.
Guess what? Number Two Son is stuck in the driveway again. So pretty…