Sunday, March 04, 2007

Were we expecting six inches more?

Friday there was a storm, dropping six inches of wet snow, sleet and freezing rain on top of what was left of the Valentine’s Day blizzard. And there was plenty left of the three feet of snow from that storm, even though it seemed lighter than air, that Valentine fluff.

When Saturday dawned, the storm had passed, and all around looked like a Christmas card. Wet snow clung to trees and bushes. A sky of blue, gray, gold and peach reminded me that Vermont always shocks with color.

We had a peaceful Saturday, errands and dog romps in the snow, pausing to consider the enormous pile of snow that whomped down onto the path so carefully shoveled for fuel deliveries. The path that is now a mound of wet, packed ice and snow. Well. That will need attention on Sunday.

It’s a funny thing about snowstorms. You don’t hear them. Unlike rain or sleet, snow comes in silence. And yet, you come to awareness that something is going on. There’s a brightness that intrudes on sleep. And an absence of sound, a hint that even the usual sparse traffic up and down the hill is not there.

Open the back door, and the puppy bounds up onto the mound. It probably isn’t a good idea to have to walk uphill on the snow from the back door…what happens when it starts to melt? Will water flood direct into the house? And why is the puppy sinking into what looks like six inches of fresh powder?

Were we expecting this?

Another ping to the consciousness. Perhaps I will need to start listening to news on the weekend. It might have been a good idea to be aware that we were expecting more snow. Not an issue on a quiet Sunday morning with plenty of food and wood in the house, but as I start to plan for long morning commutes, perhaps I should be more prepared.

I check the weather on the computer. Snow showers, with a dusting to two inches. I crave the Weather Channel. How is it that a place as obsessed with weather as Vermont, a place where the morning news has the same forecast six times over, how can it be that there is not Weather Channel? I try the local television stations—no hint of another winter storm. And yet, outside my window is white, white, white. The kind of white that says accumulation is occurring.

Weather forecasters have gotten so proficient, and they warn us so often that we come to discount their dire predictions. In an information rich world, unexpected weather seems a betrayal. I see my neighbor out for her morning walk, and I shout out, “Were we expecting this?”

“Two or three inches,” she calls back. “Isn’t it grand?” The puppy concurs--it is a grand surprise.

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