Planning for the weather can be both fun and challenging. For half a week now meteorologists have been predicting our area would get hit with a major winter storm, with snowfalls up to a foot and winds at twenty-plus miles per hour.
Now, six inches to a foot of the white stuff isn’t a huge deal – you have to drive a bit slower, allow yourself more time to get to wherever you’re going, using a front-wheel drive works better, four- or all-wheel drive is a good option to have, and your best friend is good, deep tread on your drive tires.
(Had a 1992 Ford Tempo once – owned that car for ages. Drove her from 26,000 miles to 323,000 and she still had her original engine and transmission. The Lady in Grey was perfectly balanced between engine power, ground clearance, and vehicle weight; there was nothing she couldn’t get through. Drove her through darned near everything – deep snow, mud, rain, loose gravel – with no problem at all.)
The combination a lot of light snow and high winds is a dangerous one, though. Drifts build up in sheltered areas with no indication of how deep they are, the thin snow streaming across the open areas forms ice. Then of course there’s the action of the plows; scraping snow off the road, pushing it into the cracks and contours in the tar and pressing it smooth.
Well, this storm actually couldn’t have been timed better. The snow didn’t start until Jerry and I were home from his appointment, and by the next morning the plows had cleared the standing drifts from the major roads and a lot of the minor ones. So it was just a matter of leaving about twenty minutes early and driving in safe and slow.
It was a beautiful morning on the hill. Snow was leaking into my boot with every step, creating ice under my heel, soaking my sock as it melted, numbing my left foot, and it was still a beautiful morning.
The new snow created quiet, layering over the branches on the trees, all the uneven, treacherous ice that had been formed during the thaw-freeze cycle of the past week was covered and smooth. The air was crisp, but not painfully cold, the kind you want to drink deep into your lungs so you can feel the chill strengthen and invigorate you.
While overhead a convocation of eagles soar, ten or twelve of them, dipping, wheeling, calling.
Who cares about a damp, numb foot when eagles are flying?