03 January 2007

Cozy up

Snow is coming.

It’s been in the forecast since Monday, but I didn’t really believe it. The winter has been toothless so far, with only a few brief snow showers that didn’t stick around for snowballs. Since the beginning of November, the daytime temperature has hovered in the mid- to high 50s and at night, the 40s. We’ve had one night of hard frost.

Tell me again there’s no such thing as global warming.

My little abode is at 3,200 feet, right at the snowline. But snow doesn’t like temperatures that high.

Sure, and there’s been some rain. It starts every year right around the end of October, which also ends the long, tinder-dry fire season in California. But there have only been a couple of really drenching storms, the kind that make the roof gutters gurgle and bubble like miniature streams and, if it’s quiet and late at night, creates its own soft thunder on the roof.

But the prognosticators say snow is coming. They’re saying there’s a cold front headed in with a load of arctic air and predicting several feet of snow in the mountains up-hill from us and perhaps 6 inches or more here. Yet it was a beautiful, clear day today, the sky blue as all get-out, temp up nearly to 60. I’m out feeding the chickens without a jacket, wearing nothing warmer than an old T-shirt and slippers on my feet, thinking, “Oh, sure. Tease me. Tell me snow is coming. Uh-huh.” I could have used sunglasses.

And then, right before sunset, clouds started rolling in. The world outside went from sparkling clear to completely overcast, covered with a heavy, dark, gray blanket.

I noticed about an hour later that there was only enough wood in the hearth-ring for the night. If it snowed – really, IF – I’d be growling at myself in the morning, having to do the snow-covered tarp wrench-and-shove at the woodstack, and tramping snow into the house on my boots. Little things, yes. But at 6 a.m., with a cold house, that’s just no fun.

So out I went, pulling on work gloves, wondering if there are awards in the afterlife for middle-aged women who heave loads of wood into the house to keep the family warm. I’d like a certificate in hand-drawn calligraphy, personally, and in an ornate frame thick with several layers of gold leaf. Maybe a fanfare or two.

I filled up the sling with logs of almond, a little surprised because already there was a fine rain falling. It smelled wonderful, scented with suddenly wet evergreens, duff, dense black soil and woodsmoke. Four trips back and forth later, I’d almost filled the wood-ring on the hearth. Good enough.

Now the rain is steady. It’s about 40 degrees outside – the temp still has to come down quite a bit to turn that pattering rain to snow, but I’m hopeful. I want to wake up to a world transformed, everything covered with a soft, white blanket.

See, this year when the snow comes, it will be a treat. Since I’m not doing the daily commute down the mountain right now, I can just cozy up and enjoy it, not worrying about slipping and sliding or having to chain up the car, or shoveling the driveway at 5 a.m. I’ve got everything I need – a warm fire, a good book or 10, a purring cat who’s delighted I’m willing to donate a lap, and the lovely, unexpected and longed for gift of time to write. It won’t last forever – soon enough, I’ll be taking some kind of job, whether it’s in my realm of expertise or flipping burgers at McDonalds.

But for now, let it snow.


Kevin Wolf said...

I've lived in New England all my life and don't really like winter and very much do not like snow.

Perhaps I should move?

Blue Wren said...

And the moment you moved all the way across the country, the whacked-out weather patterns we've all experienced in one way or another -- including the very mild weather here -- will shift again and my little town will be buried under 12 feet of snow from November until June. Better stay where you are... ;o)

cloudscome said...

I wish it would snow around here! I it is unbelievably warm. It's creepy.

roxtar said...

I'm awaiting fulfillment of the Prophecy of Yes, as set forth in Close to the Edge:

"Seasons will pass you by....."

I get up, I get down.