Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Snowstorm as a Goodbye to January

As last week wound on and the weathermen and the media wound themselves up, a big snowstorm wended its way from Texas, drifting slowly to the north and the east.

By Friday afternoon I had turned weather bug, dancing rapidly among's radar screen and our own windows and a very busy day at work. Dinnertime arrived and still no snow, belying the radar coverage: the flakes appeared to be hanging within the clouds. I'll give it to the media: we plugged in the old TV and watched reporters a bit further south in Kentucky, their breath coming out -- in dare I say, clouds of hot air? -- pointing to bare dustings on grass and roads and telling us that we were in the midst of a most dangerous situation. The back of my hand to all this! We have our bread and milk already. Six gallons of the liquid white stuff in the refrigerator, and the fixings for snowed-in lasagna, a massive pasta dish layered with bechamel faintly dashed with grated nutmeg, and of Bolognese sauce, sauteed zucchini, and browned mozzarella to adorn the crust.
Photo: whenever Noah puts on his coat, we call him Fur Person. He has to run away fast or I will scoop him up and rub noses with him over and over. I am glad he usually prefers rubs to running.

Bathtime and bedtime, and daddy, boys and I still were looking out the windows from time to time, but nothing seemed to show itself. Noah had a high fever, so our anticipation was mixing with worry about him.

Eleven p.m. and Christopher awoke, and Curte was padding back and forth between our bedroom and Noah's room, checking his fever, helping him sip his medicine, and we both independently peered out the window. Nada. The sharp line between storm and calm appeared to have chosen a southern boundary and we'd wake to boring dead browns outdoors.

Photo: a 2 1/2-year-old version of the Michelin man. Methinks his coat's too small.

One a.m., and more padding around. Ooh, old floors are nippy round about midnight. We have a bank of tall, mullioned windows at the back of the hall upstairs, and I leaned over the bench for a view. At last, smallish flakes falling, not too thick, but enough to coat the ground. Hooray! Snow enough to crowd out worry over our boy, so I stay awake to ruminate about snow forts past. Three a.m., and Noah had been crying on and off, and Christopher awoke again. Outdoors, the sky was blank. Oh, fiddle-faddle.

Yesterday morning, then, as we stirred to life around 7:30, was a gift to a tired-out family. Snow squalls outdoors, and appropriately gunmetal sky, a soft, deep blanket piling up and drifting against our big trees. If Noah was better, sledding and cocoa?

He wasn't better most of the day, so Curte had the morning to sleep and I drew stories for the tots on the easel and we made oatmeal with raisins and sang and I roughed out a pair of fleece chaps so Christopher could play cowboy.  The view outside was a comfort.

Later, a pleasurable if short trip to the YMCA and its sauna, where when I step inside and sit down in the heat, the indirect light always helps me to dream of the Salzburger Hof in Zell am Zee, and the mineral pools at Banff's Fairmont Hotel, and the heat and daydreams are bliss. We don't vacation often, but when we do, there has to be water, and if it's from a mineral spring, then... fiddle-faddle again. I worried about Curte shooing tired, pettish twins upstairs to a chorus of No! No! No!, and that was it for the daydream and the gym.

Photo: testing the depths. About four inches.

Late afternoon and after all that anticipation and worry, we bundled up, squeaking and squealing, and it was outdoors! Happy hopping, breathless snow depth tests, and Curte took them sledding. Happy, happy snow!

'Course, I was too pooped to take on a three-hour lasagna, but those fixings, they're still waiting, still whispering their creamy siren song.

Postscript: the weekend may have been pleasant for us and gentle on our Kentucky, I know that points further south were not as well treated, and remember unhappily how last year's ice storm brought lasting misery to so many people and to the landscape. Still, an Ithaca girl cannot but love her snow.

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