Blogs by Hilary Hopkins

Closer to Home

The Last Day of Winter

March 19, 2015 / The Last Day of Winter

Maybe you have read that our Boston winter set a record.   Yup, since they began keeping track of these things in 1872, this has been the snowiest winter in the history of the city.  One hundred eight and six-tenths of an inch of snow fell on us.  In February alone, a relentless parade of storms (or stahms as they are called around here), deposited sixty-five inches.  That’s twenty-two inches more than the Boston average for an entire winter.  That is a lot of snow.  Too much, really.

It was not a matter to joke about, after a while.  The public transportation system went down and stayed down.  Only today, the last day of winter, are all the subways finally running, and the commuter rail system—well, they hope it will be back at full capacity by the end of this month.  Don’t ask.  The transit problems are wide, deep, and old.

This meant that many people who earn a daily wage, and no wage if they aren’t at work, couldn’t get to work.  So they didn’t get paid.  If people could get to their work, say, at a restaurant or store, there were no customers.  I mean, you couldn’t drive anywhere anyhow, except for a brief period between stahms.  The business section of the Boston Globe today suggested losses of around $1 billion in wages and profits.  Some of the profits will be made up—but not the wages.  Think about that.

Trying to get ahead of the next blizzard predicted, you laid in water and things you could eat cold (in case the power were to go down), plenty of cat food (were you to have a cat), and perhaps an extra couple bottles of wine.  At our house we went through about sixty pounds of salt, for the sidewalk and driveway.   In between blizzards, I went to the library (when it was open) and carried home a dozen books at a time.   

So what happened to all the snow?  The thing is, it was also very cold.  So the stuff didn’t melt, and when it did warm up a bit, and there was some melting, next thing you knew it was back to zero degrees, which resulted in ice, lots of it, dangerous underfoot.  On our deck we ended up with eight inches of solid ice.  With a couple feet of snow on top of that.

Back to the snow.  Round here we have snow farms.  That’s what they call them.  Those are the empty lots or playing fields upon which the plowed and trucked snow is dumped.  Some of these snow farms resemble mountains.  There is a picture of one at the top of this page, from my local park.  There’s a playing field under it.  Maybe you can tell that by the little set of bleachers dwarfed by the snow mountain. 


Of course, it’s disgustingly dirty now, the snow.  Ugh.  But if we ever get a bit of warming (not in the forecast at present), that dark color will help to grab and hold the heat, melting the icy snow faster.  Leaving, of course, a godawful mess on the playing field.

Don’t get me started on the potholes. 

But there are some really good signs.  Below you see a picture from my tiny front yard.  Just peeking out from the edge of a four-foot high pile of dirty snow are some very determined crocus leaves.  You go, guys!  It’s Spring tomorrow!

However, I understand we are expecting three inches this weekend.  Get out the wine, check the cat’s food, and keep that salt handy.

The Last Day of Winter


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