I woke up to a dusting. It must have snowed for fifteen minutes last night. A transparent white cover on the dirt patch in my backyard, an area we reseeded last fall, too late to grow grass, a project waiting for spring. And a frosting of snow running the length of a fallen tree, a pin oak that grew atop the borderline between my yard and the federal property behind. After forty years of success, it fell over, echoing like an explosion of thunder on a quiet, sunny Saturday afternoon. That it fell into the wooded federal land, a gift, financial and visual. It sits there today, unattended, a feline gathering spot for the neighborhood strays.
I got out of bed early, like a schoolchild anticipating a snow day, I couldn’t sleep anymore. Not excited about what fell, but the forecast for forty-eight hours of continual snowfall, a quarter inch an hour, that’s likely to disrupt my community for the next two days. I can’t help myself. My mid-Atlantic upbringing wired me to view snowstorms as holidays. In my neck of the woods, if snow accumulates, the world shuts down. That it’s Sunday, a day I don’t work, is unimportant. Sleeping late today would be like sleeping in on Christmas.
Throughout my teenage years, snow-forecasting sucked. The predictions binary, yes or no, but even that was often wrong. We went to bed believing it might snow and woke up to twenty inches… or none. I read about today’s storm last Tuesday. The expected accumulation hasn’t changed since. The storm started right on schedule, down to the hour. The accuracy takes something away. Like knowing what’s under the tree before opening the presents. My kids will never know the shock of a surprise snowstorm. And now, post 2020, they don’t get snow days either. The schools—high school and university—announced that snow days would be Zoom days. Business as usual from here on out.
Unlike my kids, I can’t switch back and forth between home and office on a whim. I need to make preparations. I have files to transfer and documents to bring home. I suppose now, with just a dusting, I could pop into work and grab the necessary materials, prepare myself for the next few days, but I’m in holiday mode. I’ll drink another cup of coffee instead.