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I generally think that meteorologists are akin to the Boy Who Cried Wolf, forever banging on and on about dire climactic conditions that never seem to materialize. Well, I should have believed them today! When I went to work (at about three this afternoon), the roads were clear and things just looked winter-ish.
At least I had the presence of mind to wear my fuzzy little boots! They let me out a half an hour early (at 10pm), and I ventured forth into winter’s raging fury. The weather peeps weren’t fibbing this time – my commute usually takes about twenty minutes ….it took me an hour to get home tonight.
To be honest, I doubted the sanity of choosing to even drive home pretty much the minute I turned out of the parking lot. There was zero visibility, the wind tearing sheets of snow over my windshield and across the roads. I was able to see about five feet in front of my car with any kind of reliability. And when I passed an unsheltered area, that dropped to zero – as though someone dropped a blanket over the windshield blocking out everything.
I inched home, slow and steady, trying my best to stay on the road, avoiding the massive drifts that popped like ninjas out of the swirling darkness. I finally made it back to the city proper, and the streetlights’ glow illuminated the changed world. I muscled my little trooper of a car into the parking garage, and buttoned and zipped and tugged and pulled all my winter gear into place.
And then I stepped out into the maelstrom. It stole my breath, the snow biting my cheeks – tiny razors flung from maddened skies. The drifts on the sidewalks were up past my knees, and I trudged home, marveling at the world gone white and shrouded and mysterious.
It was strange – I felt like the last girl alive. Below the rush of the wind, there was a hush. I’ve never seen the city all buttoned up this way. We live in Wisconsin – snow is par for the course, and we just tend to deal with it. But this? This was the kind of blizzard that I remember being awed by when I read about them in the Little House on the Prairie books. The drift in front of the apartment door was up to my thighs, and I had to kick my way in. It gave me enough time to read the memorandum that someone from the city had posted on the door telling tenants that this was considered a snow emergency, and that all cars must be parked in a lot or be towed, and that to venture out [essentially] was to take your life in your hands.
So, naturally, I skipped upstairs, changed my clothes, grabbed my camera, and went out exploring. I plunged through snow drifts up to my waist, my laughter torn away on the gusting wind. I made it all the way down to the river. The snow softened everything – no straight lines anymore, everything gone fuzzy and obscured. It was a brief reconnaissance – good sense kicked in when I couldn’t feel my hands anymore.
You just gotta have adventures when the opportunity for them drops, literally, onto your doorstep! Enjoy the fruits of my madcap mission!