Monday, February 7, 2011

Snow! Beautiful, Relentless Snow!

by Julia Buckley
Last week we had two historic days of snow (what they're already calling THE BLIZZARD of 2011) and schools and shops were closed. This weekend, just when we were starting to dig our way through the giant mountains of white stuff, it snowed. Again. It's supposed to snow tonight, too, and several times this week, and I find myself thinking "How do they know this is THE blizzard of 2011? What if a bigger one is around the corner?"

The thought is daunting but also rather fascinating. In our technologically advanced world, where so many things are easy because we don't have to think about them (like computers, for example), we cannot avoid occasionally thinking about the weather.

And Sunday morning, when I drove to work (to lay out the school paper) in yet another significant snow, I realized that we simply have no answers at all--we just like to live as though we do. Then some momentous weather event happens, and we have to deal with what comes. Most Chicagoans I encountered during the blizzard had a surprisingly cheerful outlook--even those who were stranded. They decided to enjoy the hugeness of it and call it a reality of their geographical location. But maybe that's because this was the FIRST big snow . . .

When I'm indoors, I can admire the beauty of a gargantuan snowfall. It transforms the world, and even the ugliest street or building becomes graceful, beautiful, under the pure and forgiving snow.

My dog (pictured above) absolutely loves it, which is shocking for two reasons: A) he fears almost everything and B) he disappears inside the drifts--something I would think would be terribly claustrophobic. But he manages to leap out again, lightly, almost skipping across the surface of the snow, and his ears become like little hang-gliders keeping him aloft. I suppose nature understands nature, somehow yearns for the changing seasons, and even a beagle gets that more than we people in the work-a-day world.

So I'm trying to be philosophical and take the snow in stride. I'm even trying to love the snow for its beauty. But at the same time I'm keeping an eye on that Chicago weather forecast and trying to gauge my morning commutes for the next week.

For all my appreciation of nature, I am a city/suburban girl in one key respect. I adhere to the common philosophy: Snow is beautiful, unless you have to drive in it.


Sandra Parshall said...

Simon does look like he's having fun in the snow, but I'll bet he's glad to have a warm house to retreat to after a while. :-)

I hate snow. The storms the country has seen the past couple of winters have been life-threatening and have caused incredible disruption on a broad scale. Yet some people refuse to believe Earth's climate is changing. (Personally, I've never understood the necessity for winter!)

Julia Buckley said...

It's funny, Sandra, because I loved snow as a child, but now I'm too immersed in every-day life to really see the magic in it. Perhaps if I were on a vacation and it snowed . . . :)

lil Gluckstern said...

I agree with both of you. When I lived back east, I loved snow from inside of my house, but I hated the disruption of my life with small children to ferry back and forth to school, and shop for, etc. But it is so beautiful-sigh. Now I live in California, near S. F., and we're basking in 60 degree heat, and we need the rain. Nature does what it wants, and we ask for something else. Oh, and your dog is lovely. I like beagles.

Julia Buckley said...

Thanks, Lil.

As we have this exchange the snow is coming down today, and it's really pretty this time: lacy and giant flakes.

But of course it made traffic a mess. The yin and yang of snow.