Friday, February 22, 2013

Whiteout

Whenever I hear the phrase "whiteout," my first thought is correction fluid (and the smell of carbon tetrachloride). After all, I craft a lot of reports, proposals, and agreements, and spend far more time rambling at my keyboard than gamboling in winter weather. 

So I'm prone to associating "whiteout" with office supplies ahead of blizzards (and, in turn, to associate "blizzards" with Dairy Queen ahead of Snow Queen, but now I'm free associating… ). To be sure, most of my office work these days is drafted on and disseminated from on my laptop, and paper (either liquid or solid) seldom enters the equation—such that even small 20 ml bottles of Wite-Out are more likely to dry up before they get used up.

Still, I've always had a fondness for office supplies (as an impulse shopper, a trip to Staples is every bit as dangerous for me as a stroll down the aisles of Lowes or Whole Foods) and I've been associating with them long enough that I can even recall the alluring waxy smell of the stencils I cut (on a typewriter with the ribbon removed) in preparation for mimeographing minutes 30 years ago. We've come a long way, baby.

But I digress. The reason "whiteout" popped into my consciousness is not because I've been huffing correction fluid; it's because northeast Missouri was just blanketed with our largest snowfall of the winter—somewhere in the vicinity of six-eight inches of white stuff, accompanied by artistically (if whimsically) placed drifts approaching two feet deep, that make it hard to tell where the road ends and the ditches begin. Although I was scheduled to make the shift from Dancing Rabbit back to Sandhill today (where I'm the scheduled cook), it appears my stay at Moon Lodge will be extended for another day because my Honda sedan can't navigate drifts that large and it takes a while to get the back roads graded. It's just good old country living.

Fortunately, the National Weather Service gave us plenty of warning and Ma'ikwe and I were able to restock seasoned firewood into the front porch, empty the compost and trash buckets, and reload on library books just ahead of the storm. There is something incredibly cozy about being snug in a warm house with the winter faeries dancing around outside, sculpting snowdrifts as a seasonal expression of ephemeral art. Last night, as the snowflakes swirled around us, we bravely trudged the 200 yards separating us from the Milkweed Mercantile to partake of Thursday pizza night (the enjoyment of which shall not be stayed by snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night).

I'm imagining that today the folks at home are digging out the cross country skis, scrambling to play in the fluffy abundance before the warmer temperatures expected Sunday turn it to slush. If you don't have to go anywhere, snow days can be a lot of fun. Even falling down isn't so bad, as you have a soft landing and freshly fallen snow hasn't yet had time to get dirty or icy.

I think of a late winter snowstorm like this as Nature's White Out, giving folks an unexpected chance to change their day entirely. Depending on what you had queued up and your temperament, you can either be frustrated or delighted. All things considered, delight is the better choice.

Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we've no place to go
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
  
—lyrics by Sammy Cahn (1945)

2 comments:

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Alline said...

Thanks for the shout-out! We're always delighted when you stop in! xxoo