They kept saying, this will be the biggest snowfall since the Halloween Blizzard in 1991. People around here scoff sometimes at rumors of blizzards, because there are times that the promised snowfall turns out to be rather underwhelming. Besides, we are hardy folks, and a few inches of snow does not bother us. In fact, we laugh (hah!) at a few inches of snow.
However, this time they were correct. We had about two feet of snow here in one day yesterday. It started at about 10:00 Friday evening, took a short break during the wee hours of the morning (but after five or six inches had already fallen). It started again at about 7:30 a.m. (or so), and kept snowing until late afternoon. It was that light, fluffy snow that is easier to shovel (although after the first foot or so, who cares?), but is also easier to drift.
I didn't have a real harrowing day yesterday, as I did not end up going out so much. I went over to the breakfast Bible study early in the morning, but no one showed up, so I went back home. I did a bunch of phone calling when I got home, because our Children's Christmas Program was cancelled for today. No way they could hold the pageant without a dress rehearsal. There were a few other details to be worked out with cancellations for the day and evening. And there were regular forays out to the driveway to try to keep up with the snow accumulations.
Not such a dramatic day.
We did have an idea in the early afternoon that it might be good to get out for a little while. We backed the car out of the driveway and down the block on the way to a local bookstore. But when we approached the intersection, there were a couple of other cars at suspicious angles. We slowed down, got stuck, discovered that we couldn't back out, and spent the next forty minutes trying to get one another dug out of the end of the block.
One thing about Minnesotans: we do stick together in blizzard.
After this we pretty much had a quiet evening at home.
Some churches did cancel their services this morning; we operated services on a skeleton crew, and with fewer than normal attendees. Some reported that the roads were fine; others thought this was not the case. As I was very tired and sore from shoveling snow, I can't find it in my heart to judge too harshly those who might have been able to show up, but didn't.
Tonight the temperatures are going waaaay down. The 17-20 odd inches of snow we got is not going anywhere, for the rest of the winter. That's life in Minnesota.
So, why do I live here?
My brother moved to San Diego when he was a young man. At the time, he reported that "Minnesota is uninhabitable", and I'm sure that a few people agree. But he moved back here a few years later, and I think he even bought mittens (possibly after his car stalled at work on a cold winter night). I've never asked him why he moved back, but, I'm glad he's here.
Why do I live here?
There are a few down sides. For example, it's going to get below zero tonight. And tonight is not the only night that it will go below zero. And while I do think the snow is beautiful (I really do), right now I am wondering where to put it. I'm not sure if people who don't live around here even understand what I'm talking about, but I'm serious. When I'm shoveling approximately two feet (but who's counting) of snow out of the driveway, I start wondering just how high I can pile it. The wall of snow becomes a depressing metaphor for all obstacles to success, external or internal. And, to make matters worse, I'm not a big fan of any winter sport, really. I'm not a skiier or a ice skater or a hockey player.
Why do I live here?
Well, for one thing, I like sweaters. And thick wool socks. I like scarves too. I am not ashamed to say that wool does not bother me a bit.
I think that summer and fall are exquisite here, and I appreciate them when they arrive.
In the winter, I don't think anyone here labors under the delusion that we don't need our neighbors. And I think, in the winter at least, that very few of us labor under the delusion that we don't need the big trucks that come by to plow and salt and sand the roads. (You know, the trucks that our tax dollars support.)
Whether it's neighbors with their shovels digging each other out, or the big trucks coming to plow the streets, it's all about community.
That's why I live here, I guess. This is not just a collection of individuals. It is a neighborhood, a community, and we know we need each other. Especially in winter.