Carolyn’s Online Magazine
IT’S WINTER, IT’S A SNOWSTORM:
DEAL WITH IT
CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS moved to
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Discover what the woly worm predicted for the 2014-2015 winter season:
Rays of warm light cast shadows on the light olive green walls, shadows shaped like long fingers that beckoned me to take a seat in the corner of my couch. The table next to the arm of the couch held a cup of hot tea, a bowl of homemade split pea soup, and a small dish with three artistically arranged homemade chocolate chip cookies.
Gentle notes of Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons drifted from the stereo. One cat, Little Dog, is curled up on the table at the window. As we gaze at the softly drifting snowflakes she’s probably thinking I hope I see a bird (as if I am foolish enough to put food out for it while housing with two hungry cats) and I, a writographer, think What a wonderful day to read and write. I’ll snap pictures of the cats later.
Our male cat, King, patiently waited for me to settle into the couch cushions and cover my lap with a blanket, my protection from sharp claws as he paws at my legs while nesting.
I’m ready. I pick up the morning paper and focus on an article headlined In Boston, the Latest Big Dig is all about snow.
On January 28, 2015, The Blizzard of 2015’s snowfall of 2-3 feet closed transportation and many businesses. I wonder what they will name the next blizzard this year. The season’s only begun.
Boston is accustomed to big snowstorms…as is the rest of its state. Wooster got 33.5 inches, and the towns of Auburn and Lunenburg each reported 36 inches.
Meanwhile, Sanford, Maine (18 miles west of the coastal town of Biddeford) reported 33.5 inches. My thoughts momentarily roam to the mid-November snowstorm, Knife ( Reports from Storm “Knife” in Buffalo, New York ) that deposited 70-80 inches of snow in South Buffalo, New York.
Finishing the newspaper, I shoved King off my lap, and replaced him with my laptop. Time to work on my novel. Strangely enough, part of my writing included a comparison of winter weather between Boston and Downeast (East Lamoine, Mt. Desert Island, Hancock County) Maine. Land speculators Gen. Henry Knox and Col. William Duer were each considering purchasing million acre tracts of land there (after their land speculation venture in the Gallipolis area of Ohio failed). They hoped to sell it to French settlers who came to America hoping to populate Ohio, but who now had no place to settle while the Revolution swirled about their homeland. It was August 1791.
A potential purchaser of about 22,000 of those acres was a French émigré, a woman named Rosalie de Leval. The Knox-Duer discussion centered on a comparison of the winters between Downeast Maine and Boston.
“In spite of the problems we had in Gallipolis, many of the French emigrants remain eager to settle in this country. I have been thinking…wondering…Massachusetts’s Maine Territory contains millions of acres the state is still trying to sell,” Col. Duer said.
“I’ve been told about the climate in Maine. Rev. Manassah Cutler described it as being the ‘northern frozen deserts,’” Gen. Knox said. “It’s reported that the country goes dead for six months and is often covered with snow for five. Rev. Cutler said it is a most dreary place to live.”
“Even so, Rev. Cutler said people are constantly emigrating there,” Col. Duer said. “There seems to be an increasing interest in this land. And other reports say indicate that Maine’s winters are not much different from the winters experienced in other parts of Massachusetts. I don’t believe that the cold is any more vigorous in Maine than it is in Boston, or even New York or Philadelphia. Men who have lived for several winters in each place assure me that the winters are the same. And, they say, the strength of the sun makes you feel heat in spite of the weather.”
“We can judge these reports by comparing observations made by thermometers,” Gen. Knox said.
Returning to the 21st Century, I want to thank Bruce of Lamoine, Maine (affordableacadia.com) for sending me the two snow-covered Lamoine photos. (In September 2013 I took the same photo of the chairs looking over the river—and the sunset photo posted in my photo article Deep Water Along the New England Coast).
I recall being in the proximity of Downeast Maine in the immediate aftermatn of the 1998 ice storm. What is 2-3 foot of snow in comparison to the treachery of that storm system?
Across much of New England,streets were empty of cars and dotted instead with children who had never seen so much snow and were jumping into snow banks and making forts. Snow was waist-high in the streets of Boston. Plows made some thoroughfares passable but piled even more snow on cars parked on the city’s narrow streets.*
I no longer live on the east coast. I’m located southeast of Pittsburgh. Yes, we get snowstorms here. Drivers on our small community’s narrow gravel roads must drive cautiously in even a little wintry weather because the heavy tree coverage prevents the snow and ice from melting. Roads can be treacherous. But winter storms—or their absence—isn’t new here.
- Jan. 5, 1940: The Ligonier district this week was put on a diet of snow and sinking mercury. The section was lashed by high winds and snows that went temperatures into a skid toward zero and further complicated highway travel…***
And then, again, sometimes we don’t get snow:
- Jan. 5, 1939: Paradoxically, one year ago this week a warm sun sent the mercury soaring into the sixties and local residents enjoyed weather conditions typical of May.***
- Jan. 8, 1965: Snow is a precious commodity. That’s the way Alan Patterson of Laurel Mountain Slopes feels. For Laurel and every other ski resort in the Eastern U. S. from here to Vermont, this has been a disastrous “winter.” There was a very light snowfall on Nov. 20; but since then it has been as arid as a frigid Sahara. Several times the thermometer dipped low enough to warrant turning on the snow machines; but by the next day the sun was beaming strong and the man-made snow trickled down the mountainside…ski maestros are praying nightly for a little bit of the white stuff.***
According to Leo Moody of Maine, in the ‘70s and ‘80s today’s weather was a typical winter. Now you get a couple feet of snow, and everybody freaks out. Leo Moody**
Hey, it’s winter. We live in the north. Or you live where I’d like to spend a couple mid-winter months: the New England coast.
Yes, it’s winter. It’s cold. It’s blizzardy. It’s beautifully white. You have to shovel. Get over it. Be thankful you are not living the summer of 1816 when the season’s sport was ice skating and the season’s exercise was avoiding being hit by birds falling from the air.
And, if you can, stay inside and enjoy a good book, a nap, or even—haven forbid—time to clean closets.
DISCLAIMER: I’m well aware that many of you cannot stay home and enjoy the storm. You hold critical jobs, and without you which many persons would suffer. Please take care and remain safe while carrying on with life’s necessary tasks.
*** Ligonier Echo,January 1, 2015, Looking Back, 75 years ago, Jan 5, 1940, and 50 years ago, Jan 8, 1965