As I write this, it is 6:00 AM on a Saturday morning. I’ve been up since 4:00 because it is snowing. I know this makes no sense, but it’s true. It was snowing when I went to bed and it was pretty clear that it was going to be snowing for most of the day today, too, so it’s no surprise, but my brain woke me at 4:00 to make sure and I have been up since. Between cups of coffee I’ve been watching the snow through the windows and it clearly means business. I was even surprised twice (so far) by thunder. The promised blizzard has arrived.
I don’t know why I get so excited by snow, exactly. I no longer like to play in it, although a nice walk in it is still fun for me, and no, I don’t particularly enjoy cleaning it up after. I’ve written before about my love of snow days and the sense of “giving in” they bring. During a snow day like today, we will think nothing of our usual Saturday routines or adventures. Our pace will change, slowing noticeably, and our expectations will lower. I’d like to say that this day inside will lead to getting lots of things checked off our list, but that’s probably a little optimistic. Sure, things will get done, without a doubt, but there will likely be a nap, too, and time spent meditating (or, more accurately, daydreaming,) as we stare out the windows and watch the white blow and grow. There will be books read and television shows binged upon. There will be cooking and routine chores, but with less urgency and more patience, being given this coveted gift of time, this delicious pause.
This storm has been predicted in a number of variations for a week. Initially I hoped but didn’t bite, as I know forecasts that far out are often wildly incorrect, but as the weather folks’ certainty increased and their predictions aligned, I became increasingly excited – insufferable, even, especially to those who don’t share my enthusiasm for the white stuff. Late in the week we took the necessary steps to make caring for the critters a more manageable task in feet (PLURAL!) of snow. Chickens, ducks, and rabbits were shifted among enclosures that we can still open without fear of doors frozen to the ground. Every critter is safely housed, now, although some are not at all happy about it, the ducks in particular, who would much prefer to be sleeping comfortably in a nook outside, free of any cage at all. This is not currently possible until we figure out a way to keep them safe from the big Cooper’s hawk that tried to eat the male duck last week and has been hanging around since, so caged they remain, even though they would be fine with the weather. Two new snow shovels were purchased to replace our one broken one. Jeremy’s dad fixed the snow blower which had sat unused for 2 years, and it is now staged in a place we can easily get to. Provisions were bought – coffee, bourbon, toilet paper – and yes, bread and milk – but no eggs, as the girls have kept us in eggs pretty well even if they’ve slowed with winter. Cars were parked off our street last night, as it is a snow emergency route and we are in a SNOW EMERGENCY (!), and placed strategically to (in theory,) make digging them out easier. Plans were made with our wonderful neighbors for group efforts at snow removal when this all ends, which should be tomorrow, and it is likely that there will be laughing and yelling over the sounds of the blowers and shovels, and probably even visits and camaraderie because we will have the time and no demands to prevent them. Good stuff.
When we were installing the wiring during the kitchen renovation last summer we also had 2 outdoor floodlights installed above the bank of kitchen windows to light the back yard. The purpose for these is to allow us to check the yard for skunks from inside BEFORE we let the dogs out. The dogs check the yard for skunks AFTER we let them out which we learned on two occasions is a NOT very good method of skunk removal. The lights work well for this purpose, but as an added bonus, today when they are on and the kitchen lights are off, they turn the kitchen windows into wonderful snow globes. I could sit here and watch the snow through them all day. I can also watch the dogs through them when they are outside, which I am thankful for, this morning especially, because Guinness is hilarious.
Guinness came to us as a 6 month old pup last summer, so, based on my recollections of last winter, he probably has little or no recollection of snow from his true puppyhood. Last night when it began, he seemed interested but there wasn’t much of it yet, so he went about his business, personal and professional, in the yard with little notice. This morning was a different story. He seems fascinated with the snow, now, and based on his exuberant frolicking (which is really the ONLY word that describes what he did,) I imagined his internal teenager voice as saying “OMG! OMG! What IS this amazing new yard pillow?” He was just so HAPPY and EXCITED and SURPRISED. After about 10 minutes of that, though, his actions changed, as did his imaginary self-talk in my head, and became “Wait. Where do I poop? What happened to my poop spots? OMG I have to poop and I CAN’T FIND ANY OF MY SPOTS!” He was obviously saying this as he was frantically bouncing from formerly preferred spot to spot, scenting desperately, with an air of confusion and urgency. I’m sure he could still smell them, because his nose is genius, but they obviously didn’t LOOK or FEEL right. Unless I missed it, he didn’t locate any acceptable poop spots yet. This could prove interesting. Watching Guinness poop is NOT a desired activity in this house, but today may prove to be different. Guinness is MANY things, some (but not all,) of them good, and today I suspect entertaining will be foremost among his desirable qualities.
Last night we came home from a quick and early dinner at a local diner with some dear friends just as the snow began. It was early – barely 6:00 PM – but we put on our pajamas and settled in. We read, chatted aimlessly, and checked the snow. Often. We began our self-induced hibernation happily, because we were home, warm and tucked in our cozy house, our loved ones (feathered, furred, and non-furred,) were safe, and nature was about to put on a beautiful show that, at least initially, demanded nothing from us other than to slow down and take notice. And so we will.
Life speeds along at a breakneck pace in today’s world, placing demands – some real, many imaginary – to keep up, and we try, oh yes, we try, and too often think nothing of it. Today we have a gift, a reason to slow down, to give in. So take notice. Watch your snow globe. Take a nap. Call someone you love and share storm stories. Read a book. Cook something warm and comforting. Things will be back to normal in a couple of days, our pace will pick back up, and this moment will have passed, all of us the poorer for it. Today, we exhale, look, and listen to the beautiful hush. Today we give in, rest, and experience peace. Today, we watch our dogs try to find a place to poop and we smile because that’s all we need.