Thursday, February 21, 2019

Stopping by a library on a snowy evening

One of my several dozen managers likes to draw cartoons on an informational whiteboard that greets us at the back entrance of the library. I was totally charmed by today's, which featured a signature (borrowed) character of his, standing, waiting in a blizzard at a bus stop, with the snow up to his neck, saying resignedly "My bus may be a few minutes late."

I can look out the back window of the library now, at sunset, and see the snow gently falling among the trees back there and into the parking lot. It is literally snowing, but I was tempted to describe it as "not snowing" merely because it is no longer snowing heavily. This month has been the snowiest February in all recorded history in my cities. My sense of snow normal has grown skewed. But interestingly this is also the same month in which we encountered astonishing, record breaking cold weather as well. At the start of the month we saw temperatures close to minus 30 F., and the windchills on our balcony reached 754 degrees below zero, though, of course, that's not official, and you probably shouldn't quote me.

Nevertheless this has been an awesome February. It has gotten to be so over the top that I'm not even mad at it anymore. It may snow some more on the weekend and instead of dread I feel a vague curiosity. How much snow can pile onto a railing before the height of the snow frosting becomes structurally unsound?

The extreme weather has had a curious effect on the library I work at. There is an almost split personality to it. And my own reaction has taken on its own self-contradictory quality. Every single day events are cancelled here left and right. I'm not sure if we've even had an event in the library this month that hasn't been cancelled. Everything from "Meet a dog" to "Learn why you will never be able to properly work your smartphone" has been called off due to the weather. This has outraged me. I'm here! Why are we cancelling everything? I wander around the library telling everyone that Minnesotans have grown soft.

And yet, as eight inches of snow dumps onto the city and driving the roads becomes a loose-wheeled dance with death, I sit at the front desk of my library and watch person after person still finding their perilous way to our front doors. "My god!" I cry. "Are these people without any sense? Why don't they just stay warm and cozy at home?"

I have been thinking these two reactions make no sense together, but I might have figured it out. If the weather is terrible and I still manage to make it to the library to work, so should anyone else. But since we did all make it here we really shouldn't have to do anything. I've got so many blog posts to write. So, so many blog posts. And miles to go before I sleep.

And miles to go before I sleep.


  1. Wow. There are all sorts of coincidences happening. First, the Red Balloon, and now "Stopping by Woods," a poem we read in class just yesterday, a fine, beautiful poem about snowy Minnesota library life. And we too are having frigid temps her in CA!

    1. Really? Cold in CA? Like, what, minus ten? Are the avocados okay? Just tell me the avocados are okay.

      And can I just add: Robert Frost? Robert Frost! He totally changed his last name for that poem.


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