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.