We had a notable weather event recently – a fact that is notable in and of itself, considering how un-notable I consider weather to be in general. Most days, it turns out, are marginally colder or warmer, wetter or windier than the last, and thus, I’ve never had the attention to detail necessary to foster any meteorological interests.
Last Friday morning, however, Mike came back through the door he had just exited not two minutes before at 6am. He couldn’t make it out of our loft. The deck was so coated in ice, he couldn’t even make it to the stairs, let alone down their two flights. That’s how the whole city was – glazed in ice, all shimmery and slick. Some weathery hocus-pocus happened, and between the existing snow, overnight rain and dropping temperatures, the neighborhood was encased.
Mike mercifully received a phone call canceling school at that very moment, and he went straight back to bed. Gunshy and I had to go see it. Well, Gunshy really just wanted to eat, and once he’d eaten he wanted to poo, but being the human interpreter of his dogginess, I can point his enthusiasm for going outside in any direction I’d like.
We went out the front of our building, naturally, where the stairs are indoors and less life-threatening, and once outside we slipped and slid down the sidewalk together. Gunshy, confused by the condition of the sidewalk, peed on it – long before we were close to any snow or (frozen) greenery. Ah well, it was a little embarrassing to have my dog peeing inappropriately in my busy downtown, but whatever. When the rules of the sky and the Earth become slightly suspended, we can all feel free to suspend our own rules a bit too, right?
We finally shuffled over to a snowy patch away from the main road. Gunshy tentatively stepped out into the snow. Tentative is actually his normal reaction to snow (and loud noises, and large picture frames and cords running across the floor), so he was significantly north of tentative on this morning. He did a good job though, step, step, stepping through the ice-crusted snow top, maintaining his footing well.
It made me recall fresh snowfalls when I was a kid. Remember when you’d step out on to the snow and the top was so sturdy it could hold you up? At least in one out of every three or four steps? And though your boots would break through on those occasions you’d see how many steps you could take before plunging snowpants deep into the stuff? It was the winter version of seeing how many sidewalk panels you could take exactly two steps in before losing your pace; which was the summer version of seeing how long you could shuffle along with your feet under the autumn leaves, before the pile in front of you became to big or you couldn’t resist kicking them into the air.
What happened to that kind of snow? I took a step from the icy sidewalk onto the shiny snowbank. For a flash of a second, I swore I had it. One foot held steady on the surface, and I was supported there by the ice crust. But before I could even set my second foot down I was through. It wasn’t deep snow. Good thing too, because my leggings were a far cry from snowpants. I stood there for a moment though, looking at my submerged feet thinking, “What happened to that snow? Does it not snow like that anymore? Has the weather really changed that much?”
After the questions rotated around a few times, Gunshy came back into view, gliding back toward me after completing his mission in the snow. There he was, my little 80-pound baby, shuffling like a nervous rollerskater across the top of the bank, only breaking the surface of the snow once every few steps.
Oh. I guess it’s not the weather that’s changed.