Friday, February 4, 2011

The dark side of snow

Go see my sister-in-law's hilarious post from today, complete with a graphic showing how southerner's enjoyment of snow decreases over time.

I am not, of course, a southerner, as I am not a native Texan (though, as one local bumper sticker puts it, I got here as fast as I could). In fact, I spent almost the first decade of my life in Illinois, and have also lived in Nebraska, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, so it's not like I'm a total stranger to the idea of hugely inconvenient cold white stuff plopping down out of the sky with the kind of menacing beauty you expect from any of Mother Nature's divas.

This has made me something of a mystery to my southern-born children, who always greeted the advent of snow with glee, and could not understand their mother's total imperviousness to excitement about the whole thing. I told them, of course. I told them what it was like to have snowdrifts piled up against doors, to dig out, to spend the winter maneuvering among gray piled slush at the sides of the roads, to have to put on clothing items they don't even own (snow boots, heavy gloves, snow hats, snowsuits etc.) just to get to school, to be sent outside at recess in 20 degree weather (meaning a resumption of all of that winter panoply)--in short, I tried to tell them about the dark side of snow.

But being born in one southern state and spending the majority of their years thus far in another, they really had no idea. Not until this week.

This is the first time since they were very little that snow has been accompanied by temperatures too cold to permit much outdoor play time (and since we've been battling a slight but annoying winter cold around here, I didn't let them out in it at all). This is the first time they've not awoken the day after a snowfall to see and hear the evidence of aggressive melting--which they always used to lament, but now actually miss. This may not be the first time they've been inconvenienced by snow--the Christmas snowfall two years ago was a huge disruptor to our usual plans--but it is the first time the inconvenience has lingered long enough to be frustrating, and to produce some symptoms of cabin fever.

Still, we're not really experiencing the dark side of snow. The temperatures will rise into the forties tomorrow and Sunday (please, Lord!) and soon enough snow will melt to permit us to get out, do some grocery shopping, get to Mass on Sunday morning, and otherwise resume some normal activities. Given how long it will be before those we know in the Midwest will be able to do any such thing, we're really blessed to be in the South.

Of course, after hovering in the 40s and 50s until Tuesday, our temperatures will return to the upper 20s on Wednesday. And don't tell Waltzing Matilda, but on Wednesday we're also looking at another chance of snow...


The Sicilian said...

Snow? What snow? It's in the 70s here in Southern California. Sheep are peacefully grazing across the road, and my dog and cats are playing in the grass.

>>insert evil laugh<<

Ah, don't worry, when I eventually move back to the Northeast from whence I came, I'll get my payback. Winter is the only thing that I dread when thinking about moving back. I don't miss the cold, the snow, the ice, the shoveling, one bit.

Charlotte (Waltzing Matilda) said...


OK, let me set the record straight. It's not that I mind snow. It's the ice/snow that doesn't end! Here in Texas, we have unwritten rules and those rules state that snow is supposed to come and go, usually within in 48 hours. NOT 96+ HOURS!!!

Deirdre Mundy said...

Hey, Erin! Those of us in the midwest resumed normal activities YESTERDAY! We had one day where everything was shut down due to the blizzard---- now we're back to normal. With the huge snow piles that will last till April, of course!

BUT we have an easier time resuming normal activities because we buy the tires that are made for snow, have warm boots and coats and snowpants, have snowplows an s shovels and blowers and salt and sand etc. etc. etc.

On the other hand, a tornado would totally lay us low....... and heat freaks us out.....

Alisha De Freitas said...

I'm a life long Jersey girl, and while I'm use to some snow, ice and cold, this winter has just been plain ridiculous! Snow and ice on Tuesday and Wednesday, with more on the way tomorrow. And then snow showers on Tuesday. And then a storm on next Thursday.

I'm done!

Look in the Mirror said...

Erin, sorry to communicate this way, but I didn't know how else to get in touch with you. I was very impressed with your "Near Occasion of Sin" post, btw.

I'm with a publisher group called Catholic Word (Ascension, Basilica, Marian, Catholic Answers, Fr. Robert Barron, etc.). If you ever do book reviews and would like free Catholic books for that purpose, please contact me at

In Christ,
Brian O'Neel
Director of Media Relations
Catholic Word
800-932-3826, x229

Anonymous said...

From sledding down rooftops and watching snowdogs (crystals in the sky) as a kid in southcentral Alaska to walking through tunnels of snow (1988 winter in Fargo, ND) to the mid-eastern cornfields, the thing that is most annoying is the frozen condensation around here. Ice falls from the sky in the summer as hail and in the winter makes a pickhammer mandatory for clearing a safe path, opening car doors, and downing powerlines. But, I had never seen a glass tree before moving here after Fargo.

KC said...

My husband who grew up in Massachusetts that the only reason I love snow is that I've never had to shovel it. :)

Siarlys Jenkins said...

In Wisconsin, we had twelve inches last week, with howling winds. Everything shut down for a day and a half, and we spent a few hours digging cars out. We're doing all right now. The streets are clear, the temperatures are running from zero to 28 Fahrenheit. This is all part of the natural cycle of seasons God created for our benefit.