*Sigh* If I had a dollar for every time I heard this phrase, or a variation of it, in the past two days, I could give up my day job! Remember all that autumnal splendor of October? Yeah, well that’s a faded memory, pushed to the back of my brain by weeks of alternating snow and frigid cold.
In the bleak midwinter?
The weather has been the topic on everybody’s lips lately – it’s really too bad the Packers didn’t make it to the Super Bowl – at least we could mix the conversation up a little! Despite a maxi-meltdown on the part of Mini Me when she found out school had not been cancelled, yesterday was a pretty normal day…cold, but I don’t need to be outside much and I have a coat. Around midday, I received emails from both my kids’ schools that they would be off today due to the extreme cold – wind chill factors exceeding -35F were forecast, so this was not unexpected news. Not a big deal for our family since they are able to fend for themselves at home for the day, and their dad is home anyway.
The real monkey wrench came next when I received the first text from my university’s newly installed SMS notification system. Hurray!!! I thought, we have finally entered the 21st century. Then I read the text. %#^#!&%$!*$!%*!!! The institution has simply found a new technology with which to torment me. The message relayed that due to the cold, classes would be cancelled in the morning and resume at 12:45. Terrific. I have two sections of the same class – one that meets in the morning and one in the afternoon. It is imperative to my continued mental health that these two classes stay on the same schedule, so now I have to decide what I’m going to do to account for that. Grumble, grumble, grumble…consultations with faculty friends results in extended grumbling…and so on. My twin intro classes are both doing an online assignment for today as a result. It remains to be seen how many will show up for the night class tonight…
This winter has been brutal for a lot of people. Extreme temperatures and excessive snow are bad enough in regions equipped to deal with them (anything under six inches is just a nuisance here), but can be doubly treacherous in areas that are not. I would rank myself among the people who over winter at this point, but that doesn’t mean that I am immune to its beauty.
My commute to work takes me along about 30 miles of road cut through open farm fields with a lake in the distance to the west, and a sheltering ridge to the east. This landscape, with prevailing northwesterly winds, produces incredible conditions for blowing snow which can make driving hazardous, but can also create some amazing natural art. The image above is an example of the sort of waves, frozen in snow on the flat expanse of a field, that are wonderfully common right now.
Drifting snow is also beautifully sculptural in a sense. In certain areas, the blowing snow catches in a particular way forming rolling waves and crevices that catch the light in varying patterns. I saw all sorts of configurations as I drove today…it was brilliantly sunny, so the contrasting light and shadows and the sparkling qualities of the snow were out in full force. Engrossed in the icy tableau, I further about how everything that is cold and frozen now was bursting with autumnal abundance just weeks ago, and about how all that fertile potential is still there, beneath the snow, just waiting to be awakened by the kiss of spring warmth.
You might have noticed that unlike my autumnal posts, I did not take my own pictures of the Winter Splendor around me. I thought about getting out of the car to take some pictures myself, but then I remembered…it’s *insert alliterative expletive of choice here* out there! (Incidently, during all of this deep, artistic thought about winter beauty, I “auto-piloted” through half of my route…)
It has to end sooner or later right? Until then, bundle up Armitageworld!
Nice coat, but you’ll probably need a hat…
Photo by: Matt Holyoak for Project Magazine