Monday, November 8, 2010

Whiteout


Right now, I have only one thing on my mind, one thing taking up all my time…so when I had to pick a blog topic, I really didn’t have a choice. What else could I write about besides…

Two days ago, everything was normal here in the town of Homer, Alaska. Days were getting shorter, nights were getting colder. Every morning we’d check the temperature—hm, got down to 28 last night. We’d squint up at the sky, admire the lovely flock of sheep-like clouds flitting across the blue, then get on with our various projects.

Then, overnight, it all changed. While we were sleeping, a veil of white fluttered down on us. The veil thickened to a featherbed, which grew and grew and grew until everywhere you look, white now stares back at you. White trees, white buildings, white ground, white cars. Everything is white except the sky, which has stayed a stubborn gray, warning of more to come.

Mark it down: November 6. The day the snow started falling on Homer this winter. As I write this post, it still hasn’t stopped. Two feet of fluff and counting. It’s everywhere, in enormous, exuberant amounts.

It’s as if we’re suddenly living in a different element, not air, but snow. To get anywhere, you have to wade through hip-high piles of the stuff. When you open a door, a ridge of newly fallen snow collapses on you. Everything—cars, trees, piles of lumber—has been transformed into ghostly white yak-like blobs. When you brush against them, you’re treated to a shower of icy crystals.

The onslaught of snow has to be factored into everything we do. If anything was left on the ground before the snow fell, you can forget about finding it until sometime in May. Everything takes twice as long to accomplish, once you add in the time it takes to put on your snow gear and wade through the drifts and chip the ice off the car. The drive into town, which usually takes fifteen minutes, can take half an hour of white-knuckle, afraid-to-blink navigating of icy curves.

Better to stay home. Which brings me back to where I started. Shoveling. Yes, that’s been my life for the last two days. Shoveling paths, making huge snow mountains, clearing the driveway, digging out the cars. Sure, the snow’s still coming, but we’ve got to start sometime, and who knows when it will stop? It’s hard, sweaty work, but when I take a break and the quiet flakes cool my face and I sense the silent sigh of the land settling in for the winter, it’s a joy.



Those of you who live in the North, has anyone else had snow this early in the winter? You in the South… jealous? ;) Or thanking your lucky stars?

Okay…back to work. Thanks for the break! If no one hears from me for a while, I’m either still shoveling…or we’re drowning in the stuff. I'll keep you posted.

7 comments:

kinkybelle said...

Gorgeous pictures. But this southern girl is thankful I don't live where it snows much. We might get one snow a year and you probably wouldn't even call it snow. Hope you've got plenty of hot chocolate and a warm, hunky snuggler to take care of you after the shoveling!

Meg Benjamin said...

Here in the Rockies we're bracing for it. Normally, we've had at least one snowfall by this time of year, but this year nada. Now I hear we've got the possibility of snowfall Tuesday and Thursday. Good. We've finally got the freakin leaves raked up. Time for the next onslaught.

Juniper Bell said...

KinkyBelle - You're right about the hot chocolate and snuggly guy -- this is the time of year they really come in handy. ;) I miss the south, I'll tell you that.

Meg - I hope your first snow doesn't bury you like ours has. I like to ease into it, usually, not get hammered in the first storm of the season. ;)

Kelly Jamieson said...

Those are awesome pictures! Snow can be so beautiful. Here, it's always the big question - will there be snow for Halloween? Sometimes yes, but not this year. Once into November, it could be any day though! I like the snow until about February and then I'm ready to escape to somewhere warm...like, oh say...Hawaii...

PG Forte said...

I love snow in pictures or books or blog posts ;) or movies. Ooh, or memories...from long, long ago.

But in real life? Not so much.

I think I'll stay where I am, drink another gingerbread ale and admire winter from afar.

Skylar Kade said...

It hit the high 90s here over the weekend. Snow is not my friend--I don't envy y'all in the northern areas at all!

Sydney Somers said...

Love the pics. We've had some light snow on the east coast, but it didn't stick around, thankfully. Although, sooner or later it'll hit us and hang on until at least April. Not looking forward to it.