Saturday should have been a day for me to work on my novel before I went to the movies with a friend. Instead, the foot of snow dumped in my front yard kept me from leaving the house at all.
It was about 4 a.m. when the snow first started to fall. The rest of the city was sleeping, blissfully unaware of Winter's grand entrance. Surrounded by the glow of the Yule lights framing my windows, I spent hours gazing at the snow fall.
Although I was born and raised in Chicago, I've not really experienced a good winter snow storm in about 12 years. Since my Midwestern days, I've lived in warmer climes -- Florida, Mississippi, California. Snow was simply not a factor in my life, and for the most part, I was okay with that fact.
To prepare for the coming winter weather, I was forced to stock up on canned goods and buy sweaters, gloves, a scarf, a hat. With my thinned-out blood, I had to be prepared to face the worse Jack Frost could throw at me.
Thankfully, I was inside when he made his grand entrance.
At first, the snow appeared to cover the world in a fine, soft dust, similar to confectioner's sugar on top of brownies. As the storm continued, though, the flakes began to cling to each other, their spiky hands and legs wrapping tightly around their friends.
Eventually it became difficult to see the darkness through all the white falling from the sky. Mother Nature had turned on the snow machine, and then kicked it into high gear. It seemed as if she and Jack were having a contest of wills. He'd throw some cold her way and she'd respond with a burst of snowfall. As the sun rose in the East, I felt like the only human witness to this cosmic childishness.
Once daylight arrived, I saw that the world outside my window was completely bathed in white. Over 12 inches fell that day, covering cars and homes, yards and sidewalks. No one could drive in the streets until the snow plows came through, so even the roads were unmarred by tire tracks and footprints.
Icicles formed on the windowpanes and my cats sat on top of boxes staring curiously at them. While intrigued by the strange phenomenon, none of us were eager to venture out into it. Instead, we enjoyed the wild, blustery view from inside our warm home, and silently thanked those who were forced to enter the storm.
Who are these brave souls? The ones who bundle up against the cold and put civilization back on its track. The men and women who drive the snow plows, sustained only by hot coffee and cocoa. The police officers and fire fighters who keep order amidst nature's chaos. The doctors and nurses who put in extra hours at work, and the utility workers who keep the heat and telephone access working in our homes.
I do not have the strength nor the endurance that these people do. But I am grateful of their help and service. Without such selfless folk, the world would surely take a long time to brave the elements. Maybe even until Spring...