Friday, December 18, 2009

For the Love of Shiny Snow

The post office parking lot. Sorry Al Gore, it's just not
a sub-compact kind of climate around here.

I can admit, even in the depths of winter, that fresh fallen snow is beautiful. (Note I did say 'fallen', as opposed to driven into every crack and crevice of every building on the ranch by an angry Artic wind.) Fresh snow sparkles in sunlight, glitters in moonlight. Without it, the old Christmas verses would be sadly lacking. But to my mind, there is nothing as gorgeous as shiny snow.

You see, fresh snow is also light and fluffy snow. Or maybe packed into snowdrifts snow. But until the temperature rises above freezing, it retains the potential to become blowing and drifting snow at the first hint of a breeze. In case you hadn't heard, breezes are quite common around here. Nothing under thirty miles an hour would even dare to call itself wind on the Rocky Mountain front. Combine unfettered snow and a stiff breeze, and you have a small problem when your driveway is two and half miles of this:

It's like it was designed to catch snow, isn't it? And it's been doing a wonderful job for the past two weeks. So wonderful, in fact, that until day before yesterday, the only way to get out to the main road was to cut across the hayfield, up a short section of the road blown clear by the wind, into the barley field, through a hole cut in the fence, around the cattleguard, and finally back onto the last half mile of the driveway. Needless to say, my Jeep Cherokee has been parked out at the end of the road for quite some time, while my husband ferried me back and forth in a chained up four wheel drive. Except for the two days when it was so bad I didn't get to come home from work at all (and many thanks to the relatives who put up with my cranky self for those two nights!).

Tuesday it warmed up. The sun turned up the wattage and the temperatures topped forty, and the topmost layer of snow that had been drifting and shifting and generally making our lives miserable was fused into a delicate layer of ice, just thick enough to trap all the other restless snowflakes under its shell. When I drove home today the wind was blasting away as usual, but nary a drift appeared.

I love shiny snow.



Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Beautiful. As someone who's never seen snow at Christmas, that's so beautiful. I know it's a hassle and sooooooo cold, but it is so beautiful. Have a great Christmas, Kari!

Shelby said...

You had me at 'sorry Al Gore...'

love fresh snow too.. sorry about you being snowed away from home tho.

MitMoi said...

This is the first time I've ever thought "icy" could be a good thing when combined with the words "snow" and "road".

Wish icy was good here in NC. Unfortunately it is just a precursor to "people who drive like idiots and crash into things". They need to learn about chains. :)

SAC said...

Just thought you should know, your blog has become regular read-aloud fare for our household. Everybody laughs, and my parents reminisce, and I sometimes learn stuff I would have never known about them.

If you were to, say, get a book deal for a collection of these stories, then I would recommend it to (or, depending on budget available, buy it for) not only my parents, but each of my four sisters, and my brother, as well as my ten uncles, with their respective spouses and children and grandchildren, etc. I know that you're a fiction writer, and I would never want to discourage you from that, but I wanted to let you know that your nonfiction is great, too.

Kari Lynn Dell said...

SAC: Thanks so much for your kind words. The idea of a short story collection has been discussed and isn't out of the question, although I don't see it happening soon with everything else I've got going on right now. I'm so glad this blog is something your family enjoys together. It's been fun for mine as well, as the stories bring back memories.

MitMoi: I know what you mean. I lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for one winter and one big ice storm. I've never seen anything quite like the way people in the south drive on icy roads.

Crystal Posey said...

I've never seen shiny snow! :(