This time, we all got plenty of warning. It was going to be a humdinger, the forecasters said. There was even talk of The Great Blizzard of ’78. Friday afternoon, after listening for a while to the dire talk about the three feet due on the weekend, my husband suggested we do our week’s grocery shopping right then, instead of on Saturday as we usually do. I thought it was a brilliant idea, leading as it would to a weekend spent contemplating the snow backed by the security of a full larder.
Besides, there would be that special human excitement of we-are-all-in-this-together, experienced at those times when a community shares something in which everyone has to step up and out of the comfort zone. You gotta step up when there is going to be a big blizzard and the usual schedule is disrupted, and maybe the power is going to go out, and your elderly neighbor needs checking up on. Or the heat might go out, and you certainly are not going to be able to drive anywhere, to work or appointments or anything. It’ll be a hunkering-down time and that’ll be different, and we yearn for something different. We like to feel that we are equal to the challenge of something different.
So we went off to the market, where people had carts full of water and soda and bread, and strangers said to each other, with wry smiles, “Well, ya ready for this?” We brought home water and bread and peanut butter, and some little bottles of wine, and a few cans of baked beans and some soup. When we got home we checked to be sure our lanterns had adequate batteries. ‘Cause ya never know if the power’s gonna go out.
I didn’t sleep well that night, waiting for the sound of snow, or the exciting lack of sound that a big snowfall makes, muffling everything. In the morning, yes, there it was, the snow, falling, falling all day and on into the night. The birds at my bird feeders on the deck, a hundred of them, house sparrows and juncos and a robin and some mourning doves—they came eagerly to the heated water and seed and corn I put out for them. We are all in this together, this blizzard.
In the night I went out, walked along the free streets a little, no cars, only a few walkers and shovelers, and the snow kept falling, and it was quiet and beautiful, and then I went back to my house where it was light and warm and dry, and I was grateful for that, in the storm. We had some wine and some soup, and tucked in.
But it’s snowing again, now.