Friday, February 5, 2016

The February blizzard

As I write I can see the swirls of a blizzard out the back windows of my library. The night is black, and white snow, illuminated alone by the tall parking lot lamps so that the snow itself is all that is visible, is picked up by gusts of wind and scattered into the sky futilely, flung only to fall and be flung some more. At this point it is hard to know how any new snow can ever reach the ground.

 The snow has been falling hard ever since the last thirty minutes of my walk, eight hours ago. The library is as quiet as a, as a, oh, how I wish I were so talented a writer that I could come up with a clever simile for that. Somewhere there is a world famous blogger who works in, and writes about a morgue, having the same problem tonight. They say "The morgue tonight is as quiet as a, as a..." And they too come up blank. Everything has already been said.

When I left on my walk this morning the birds tried to warn me. My neighborhood and the river were full of strange birds, hawks flinging through the trees of front yards, woodpeckers racing to fill their stomachs, unrecognizable flocks in efficient formations flinging off to somewhere else as fast as possible. The world was growing darker. Squirrels curled against the wind on high tree branches. Something was obviously up.

Then silence fell. Darkness fell. But no snow fell. The world was abandoned. Dogs cowered. I picked my way along the ice. I put on my hat. And suddenly, without any easing into it, snow gushed down. I don't know how to describe snow like that, not flakes, nor bits of ice. It did not float down, or swirl like it is doing now. The wind blew and the snow, just snow, with no other adjectives, fell. It fell like it was serious about it, and it covered everything.

It's been a gloriously pretty day out the windows. It's quiet as a ...  I've been here the whole time, at the library, leaning towards the window, watching. There is a spell on the city.

In an hour the spell will be broken. The shoveling will begin. I'll brush off the car. I'll scrape the ice. It will be a strange, slow journey home on what should be abandoned roads, but won't be. It's a big city. There's been far more snow than this in storms past, and Minnesotans are hardy. I'll make it home alive.

I'll try to ignore my broken computer at home. I'll crawl into bed. I'll dream of snow, and I'll wake to shovel it.

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