Sunday, January 5, 2014


It is snowing like a beast outside.  The screen on my window is caked with snow, and I can’t see anything beyond a shadow of the naked tree in our front yard, certainly not the house across the street. 

The wind howls.

Church was cancelled.

We studied the Bible at home, in the living room, and we brought in the space heater from the sun porch, as the sun-porch is far too cold for any space heater to remedy.

The wind howls.

One thing about living where it is very flat and wide open: the wind whips across the earth with a power that can be quite frightening.

The day we went to pick up Jon and Laura from Chicago for Christmas, it was sunny and clear.  They’d snagged a ride home from college to Chicago with a friend of Laura’s who lives there. I used Google maps to find a reputable looking Chicago Panera in a safe area where their driver could drop them off and we could pick them up.

It was December 18, a day shy of two weeks after my surgery.  I was in a certain amount of pain, but all the other stars aligned to make dinner at Lou Malnati’s a possibility.

We drove to the Lou Malnati’s in Naperville.  Naperville is quaint and subtly swanky.  The downtown reminds me of Hanover, New Hampshire, where Shannon and I went to visit Dartmouth when she was selecting a graduate school.  Naperville is, of course, more Midwestern than Northeastern, which serves to make it friendlier and less exclusive.  Once we finally found a parking spot (a challenging endeavor), we walked through the charming downtown, which was tastefully bedecked for Christmas—real snow, evergreen wreaths, sparkly white lights—and filled with ritzy little shops opening white-paned onto the cobbled sidewalks.  Before long, we found Lou Malnati’s.

I was limping and pale, the cold night air cutting me harshly as I bent to accommodate the post-surgical pain in my midsection, my ever-thinning hair falling out of a feeble bun and whipping around my face in strings.  I felt ugly and underdressed.  But our server at Lou Malnati’s never let on that there was anything amiss, and he treated us far better than I expected to be treated, based on the difference between my appearance and the appearances of the other women I saw promenading through Naperville in Burberry boots and scarves.

It was dark before dinner, so it was certainly dark after dinner.  We still had a two-hour drive.  Heading south toward home, we drove under clear, starry skies.  Not a flake of snow had fallen all day.

Imagine our surprise as we traversed the country road that took us the last hour home, coming upon deep snowdrift after deep snowdrift.  Shawn gripped the steering wheel tightly.  The drifts always seemed to be worst at curves and (perversely) when there was traffic coming from the opposite direction on this two-lane highway.  Shawn says you can’t slow down too much in those kinds of drifts, or you will get stuck.  But you can’t go too fast, or you will wipe out.  It was a scary drive.  Who knew that a road could change from perfectly-clear-and-dry to buried-under-almost-a-foot-of-snow when no snow had fallen?  This is the power of the wind blowing across flat, snowy fields on a cold day.

Today, I watch the snow amass on the window screen in front of me, and I listen to the wind, and I think I have not yet seen the last of this.


Hope T. said...

I love the snow so much if I don't have to go anywhere. We got our snowstorm on Thursday night. It started at around 4 pm. At 4:15, I foolishly thought I could make a quick trip to drop off some library books. I ended up having to turn back since the streets were already covered and visibility was so poor. These things can get bad so quickly.

I am hoping for much snow and many cancellations and staying put in my cozy home. I hope it will clear for you on the day your kids have to return to school, if they have not already gone. Do you like the snow if you aren't out driving?

Anonymous said...

I hate wind. Even here on Chokecherry, with so few trees, I have hated the wind which I never noticed in Bayberry, with all it's large trees to buffer my house. I can't imagine living somewhere so flat and windy. It really scares me. Stay warm and snug.

ruth said...

I love snow cancellations. I don't mind staying home, being snowbound, most of the time. But last night I felt fearful. Our refrigerator here holds almost nothing, and we left our freezer in our house on Sugar Pine. So we have no food stores anymore. Lat night for dinner, all I could rustle up was some homemade tomato soup (I made it with the one jar of tomatoes Shawn's mother brought out as a gift for us over New Year's), baked beans from a can and baked potatoes with a few leftover ham chunks and shredded cheddar cheese. We do not have enough of any kind of meat in the house to serve four people. If I can't get to the store today, we will be able to eat, but we will all have to eat different things. And we literally only have enough food to last us two more days, max.

Last night I had a lot of trouble sleeping. The wind howled so loud, and the highways were all closed, and Wegman's was not 4 minutes away. I kept thinking of the Laura Ingalls Wilder book called The Long Winter. I wondered what would become of us if the power went out. It's well below zero, even colder with the windchill. Lu keeps checking the temp on her pne and apprising me.

Jon and Lu are still here. Shannon and DJ flew home over the weekend, amidst a great deal of airline trauma. It was harrowing for me. But they are both safely at their destinations now, so that is good.

ruth said...

Lu keeps checking the temp on her PHONE. My eyes are not working, nor my chilly fingers.

Hope T. said...

Our windchill is also going to fall to well below zero. That would be a fearful prospect with little food in the house. My husband insists that we keep a lot of food stored so I don't worry about that but the heat going out is a scary prospect. We have no fireplace here - I can't imagine what we would do. It got quite chilly last year in October when we lost power for several days due to hurricane Sandy. So thinking of it being fifty degrees colder than that....well I can't think about it.

I'm sorry about the airline trauma. Airline and trauma are two words which seem to be naturally wedded. I hope there is no repeat of either when Jon and Lu go back.

Tonight would be a great night to burrow under heaps of blankets and read or a book (or listen to an audio book). Wishing you a better day tomorrow....