“After what might” have been a night on retreat, I am instead sitting on an upholstered chair next to our still-fragrant Christmas tree with my new Christmas-present laptop on my lap.
I had hoped to be on a 24-hour retreat at a nearby spiritual center. The theme was to have been finding some optimism for the new year.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough people sign up to go ahead with the program.
Part of the reason signups were low was probably the weather. Yesterday, the weather was rainy with a high in the 60s F. (16 C). Overnight, the temperature plummeted to well below freezing. There is an inch or two of snow (5 cm), mostly likely with a coating of ice underneath with more snow expected.
I know it is safer for all of us to be at home, but I still wish the retreat had not been cancelled.
March was very hectic, but I did manage to attend four of five sessions for the Binghamton Poetry Project. Our reading took place on April first, but I missed it as it was the same afternoon as our University Chorus concert.
I haven’t had a chance to collect my anthology yet, but these three poems are my contribution. The first two were written from prompts during our sessions and the last one I wrote in response to the tongue-in-cheek suggestion of one of the Grapevine Group poets that we each write a snow poem after our big storm.
Enjoy! (And comment if you are so moved…)
Her breaths are fast and shallow
I untie her sneakers,
work them off,
pull off her socks,
help her out of her shirt and pants,
slip her nightgown on.
She sits on the edge
of the bed,
pivots to lie down,
but needs me to lift
I pull up the covers,
close the door,
and wait for the X-ray results.
Her cardiac rehab is Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
He rides with her in the retirement home van,
helps her navigate into the lift with her walker,
sits with her in the waiting room
until she is called into therapy
where he is not allowed to follow.
Her exercises accomplished,
they board the van for the ride
back home to their apartment
where lunch awaits.
After sixty-two years of marriage,
he does not want her to go
The forecast was for an inch overnight
with Five to Eight to follow;
then, One to Three
with Six to Nine.
I rose before the daylight-saving
delayed dawn to find
a foot of snow already down,
consequence of a more westerly
born of long-ago New England winters,
to clear the overnight
accumulation from the driveway,
every few inches,
add in the front walk
and path to the mailbox
as strength allows.
A good plan,
but overly ambitious
for a Five foot One-and-a-half inch
with a shovel
contending with the wake
and snow falling at Two
by Five o’clock
and still snowing.
Seven bouts of shoveling,
Twelve thousand, ninety-one Fitbit steps,
and Two blessed assists
from the neighbors’ snowblower
yield a driveway cleared to a road
under a county-wide travel ban,
a path to a mailbox that may
be filled with today’s mail
The snow is supposed to continue until at least midnight and the wind has started to pick up. I am about to go out for shoveling session seven. We are all hoping that we don’t get heavy winds. Big snowstorm is preferable to blizzard.
Today, here in the Binghamton (NY) area, we are experiencing a nor’easter, which is a storm that comes up the Atlantic coast and whose rotation results in winds from the northeast. This is the strongest we have had in many years, perhaps because it was strengthened by a second low pressure system coming from the west.
The tricky thing about forecasting nor’easters is that the exact track of the storm makes a huge difference in the snowfall amount. The prediction had been that we were going to get one to three inches starting about midnight, with an additional eight to ten during the day.
I set my alarm to get up in the pre-dawn darkness – insert grumbling about Daylight Saving Time here – to shovel the driveway to get to an morning appointment. I looked out the front door to find not one to three inches, but a foot (about a third of a meter) already on the ground with heavy snow continuing, sometimes at a rate of two to three inches an hour.
Apparently, the storm had tracked further west than anticipated – and then stalled. Fortunately, the cold from the day before was holding, though, so while we are getting A LOT of snow, it is light and fluffy, not the heavy, wet snow that mixes with sleet and freezing rain and causes power outages.
Still, it is daunting to shovel so much of it…
I worked for an hour and didn’t even have one lane of the driveway clear when I cam in to rest.
The appointment with E’s obstetrician’s office was cancelled because the office was closed, along with just about everything else in the county. The governor instituted a travel ban and is calling out the National Guard to help in the storm cleanup. We may get as much as thirty inches of snow , which I can believe, given that we have almost two feet on the ground as I write this in mid-afternoon.
(Just in case you had forgotten about E’s pregnancy – I had forgotten myself that I had written about it – you can read some of the backstory here.)
I’ve spent the day alternating shoveling time with rest and recovery time. I am very grateful that, during shoveling round four, our next-door neighbors came to help with their snowblower. Ordinarily, B uses our big Ariens snowblower that my dad gave us when he no longer needed it to clear snow for us and the neighbors, but B is away on business, the Ariens is currently in need of repair, and I am not strong enough to use it. They were able to clear the second pass of snowplow pile blocking the end of the driveway and make an initial path to the front stairs and mailbox, although there isn’t going to be any mail delivery today. Sometimes, the “neither rain, nor snow, nor dark of night” bit doesn’t hold.
I need to get out there for round six now. I am trying to keep the driveway and path clear enough that we could get out in case of emergency. It is getting harder because the snow banks are getting higher than my head, so it is hard to throw the snow over them. I have left myself a little extra space for the driveway, in case of bank mini-avalanche, but I am dreading when the snow slides off the metal garage roof and lands in a giant pile in the driveway. Maybe it will wait until tomorrow, or Thursday, or even better, Friday, when B will return home.
A lot of places in the US are under a coat of white from snow.
Not exactly a surprise in January, except that, while there is snow in places one expects, like Colorado, the Dakotas, and Vermont, but also in some places where it is more unusual, such as Alabama and the Carolinas. Seattle, Washington has also recently had snow.
Weirdly, we don’t have much here in the Binghamton, New York area. While some parts of the state have had massive lake effect snows, the wind pattern is preventing them from reaching us here. The storm systems are coming up the coast and we are too far inland to get major amounts of snow from them.
Also weirdly, the cold and snow dipping into the Southern US are caused by the warming of the Arctic region. This pushes the polar vortex south.
This weekend, we are having some of our coldest temperatures of the winter. I am pulling out the heavy coats.
Śnieżyca jaka mnie dopadła / Storm which caught me
Dziś po południu musiałem sprawdzić czy jest coś śniegu po wyżej 1000m i co się okazało, oczywiście że jest a w dodatku zaatakował mnie śnieg i to tak intensywnie. Wszystkie ujęcia wykonane moim LG G4.
This afternoon I had to see if there is something on the snow above 1000m and as it turned out, of course it is and in addition attacked me and the snow is so hard. All shots made my LG G4.