Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Nature’s Call for Simpler Times

When it snowed again yesterday morning I decided to walk the mile to the library for our weekly Write Group support meeting. I figured walking would be better than driving on new fallen snow and I’d also avoid pulling into a poorly plowed space to park.
Our beautifully landscaped terrace

This was about our fifth snowfall (but who’s counting?) since the new year. We’ve had other snowy winters, but in every one that I remember, except the winter of ’92-93, the snow melted between snow falls. This year it hasn’t and there is no place to put the snow. Consequently snow barriers a yard thick and equally high line all of our curbs reducing most streets to one and a half lanes. When there are cars parked, they protrude into the middle of the street; opposing traffic must take turns slaloming down the block. 

View from the bridge
My walk includes an old cement 
bridge over the railroad and a 
section of the Second River—
there enclosed within “the Glen”
—always picturesque, especially
 in the snow, and Glenfield Park. 
At the time I went out there was 
no traffic on those streets. Nature forced humanity to revert to simpler ways. I saw only two other walkers. We waved to each other as we walked in the street facing traffic, like on a rural road, because you could get to the semi-shoveled walkways only by scrambling over yard-high mounds at the corners.

Passing some beautiful Victorian homes, I was certain the scene would have looked little different when they were newly built. I imagined and wished for a horse-drawn sleigh to drive out from one of them. In Time and Again, a book by Jack Finney that I’ve several times reread, the protagonist goes back to an earlier time by imagining himself in that time just after a snow fall.  But unfortunately, that was not to happen during my walk; a motorized Parcel Post Truck coming down Woodland Ave. quickly destroyed the illusion of times past.

I trudged on, occasionally on sidewalks, but moving back to the street whenever homeowners had neglected their shoveling, passing newer homes and apartment houses that could never take me back in time. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Musing on a Snow Day

Water is such an incredible substance. When it evaporates it creates interesting cloud formations. In its solid state, instead of condensing, like so many other compounds, it expands, allowing it to cover the surface of a lake while letting fish and other water creatures survive below. 

And then there’s snow. It’s like whipped water—fluffy, soft, malleable, beautiful and quiet.

Today’s snow has forced a holiday on me and many others. Sadly, most adults forge ahead with their plans while grumbling about the weather. They ignore Mother Nature’s advice, “Step back, reflect, enjoy!”
The view from our window

Kids know better. They get out in the stuff—building, tunneling, sliding, getting happily soaking wet.

Since we moved to an apartment in October, I have not missed having a yard. Until today. I miss my neighbors’ children who, on a day like today, would ring my doorbell and invite me to help them build a snow fort or make a sculpture of their favorite cartoon character.

There is snow on our terrace. Maybe I’ll go build a snow Sponge Bob.