Up until last week, this Seattle winter has been quite mild. For instance, my fava beans were blooming on January 19th, and the kale was giving me a healthy harvest every week:
And then, on Sunday, Feb 3: Snow, magical snow!
The school week included a snow day, a late start, and an early release.
By Saturday, Feb 9: Snowfall and icy road conditions made driving inadvisable; the good doctor made his way into town to visit a patient.
Sunday, Feb 10: Skiing around town.
Monday, Feb 11, 4:30 p.m.: 13 inches of accumulation. Schools were closed, grocery stores intermittently out of bananas, bread, and hot cocoa, power outages all over the island (gratitude for power at our house), sledding and igloo building down every side street. It felt like evening all afternoon; the perfect day for one of my favorite poems: “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”.
Tuesday, Feb 12: Rain and temperatures above freezing started to melt the snow into densely wet drifts and banks. Walked to barre class in the slush, spent most of the day cozied up with the dog and a fascinating book: Why We Sleep. Family movie: Mister Rogers documentary.
Wednesday, Feb 13: We have a late start for school today, and thereafter we’ll hopefully resume a normal schedule.
Both magical and treacherous, interludes like this remove some pressures and introduce others. We are impelled to start at the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and consider how we will stay warm, how and what we will eat, etc. For many of us, these lower-tier needs have long gone largely unconsidered; in fact, they are called “deficiency needs” since we generally only become anxious about them when they aren’t being met.
There is a paradoxical aspect to snow: when it’s been falling for long enough, it muffles the world and swathes it in blank quietness–and at the same time, it amplifies tragedies (weather-related deaths) and kindness (people going out to tow strangers out of ditches, offering their warm houses, etc).