Winter storms Pax and Quintus of February 2014 put a kink in my 862-mile relocation plan. With most of my clothes and supplies held up in the mover’s warehouse somewhere in rural Pennsylvania, I’m running low on clean socks and patience. Here I am, sitting in my pajamas, feeling dread every time I look out the window to see the sky is still falling. Luckily, I don’t have to leave the house and battle through dangerous road conditions on the mountain, but I have loved ones who have to trek through the storm.
The scientific-side of my mind keeps yelling “I told you so!” affirming my belief that climate change is here and it’s affecting my life. This is just one of the extreme weather events that are expected to increase in frequency as climate change progresses. Then there’s the woman in me, tapping into all sorts of emotions. From hating the weather, even though I know that won’t help ease the stress, to being grateful that everyone made it home safe for the night. If the two storms were already overwhelmingly stressful to deal with, how mentally prepared are we for more severe weather conditions?
Writing is my refuge. Creative writing, a hidden and dusty skill that’s been locked away in the void of my mind for years, emerged out of the snow today.
Goodbye New England, Goodbye Snow
Snow. The white powdery fluff that falls from the sky and magically enchants children all over the world in its lore. Snow. A time for making angels, seeking fun in throwing balls of ice at each other, building sculptures in the front yard as if our yard needs decor in the bleakness of winter. Snow. Sharing moments with loved ones, warming up over hot cocoa and staring at dancing shadows cast by the fireplace.
Idyllic winter. Never was.
Pax, a misnomer, the grouchiest guest to knock on our front porch. She hollered through leaving a pathway of knee-high hardened snow, on top of slick ice, on top of inches of snow from the previous “minor” storms, on top of more ice. She broke shovels and backs. Icicles oozed from the gutters, as we retreated into our cavern of warmth, listening to pipes creaking, hoping they wouldn’t burst.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
Quintus, the guest that shows up unannounced. The kind that slowly eats away at your patience. He teases us with a constant stream of light fluttering snow, as if the sky has nothing better to do but lazily sprinkle the land with its dust all day long. He jabs us with his frigid fingers, mocking all the groundhogs that made a mistake. Quintus, Old Man Winter, reminding us that nature rules all.
Goodbye New England, Goodbye Snow.
It’s been twenty years. You’ve toughened me up during the darkest seasons. You broke me down more than once, and I rose up more than once.
It’s time for me to enjoy the warm kisses of the southern sun, bask in the sweet fragrance of ripening peaches, hike in autumn-like weather in the middle of winter because that is what the northerner of me expects of a southern winter.
And if snow should grace the south again, causing havoc again, giving the smug northerners comedic material, brush it off. We can enjoy a Peach Bellini on a sun-drenched porch and not have to think about snow.