January 29th, 2008


Casting a Bottle Adrift

There's still electricity and Internets, but I don't know for how long, so I'll have to be quick about this. I might have smelled the snow coming. Three o'clock this morning I went out to find the moon and stars had vanished, and the cold air was damp and heavy. Breathing was like inhaling frozen fog, and diffused moonlight brought a dim light to the pale landscape and the dark trees. Later I fell asleep and was awakened by the rumbling of the snowplow truck as it scraped a thin layer of new snow from the asphalt by gray morning light.

Fetching the newspaper, I found its plastic bag covered by an inch of soft, airy powder. Acorn woodpeckers were out, squawking loudly, and a few small birds of other species were pecking at clear spots in the lawn which the trees had protected from the snowfall. But by afternoon the birds had concealed themselves, and the snow had become granular and icy—the sort of snow you can hear, like grains of sand sliding down a piece of paper. Though it fell slowly, it fell continuously, compacting the earlier layer of powder. As wet as it had become, it would no longer stick to branches or wires. Before sunset swallowed the world, all had nearly vanished in the thick grayness of earth-hugging clouds.

Night is very cold and unpleasantly muggy. The plow has been by twice again since morning, pushing higher the wall of broken snow with which it lines the street. I haven't bothered to shovel the driveway or the walk, and the mail, if there is any, is still in the mailbox. Though not very deep, the soggy snow is heavy, and as I stood on the porch a while ago I caught from the corner of my eye a brief flash of light. Some part of town not to far away has probably lost its power. We could be next. Though this latest storm has been without wind, the sheer weight of dense, wet snow is apt to bring down any number of wires. I'm heating the house a bit warmer than it needs to be, so we'll have a bit of a reserve just in case.

Should I fall silent for any length of time, It'll probably be an indication that I'm freezing my ass off. Oh, wintry days. I do hope the place is cleared up by Thursday, as that's when I'm to have my next chiropractic head yanking, and I sorely need it.