Friday, January 25, 2019

Snow Changes a Person

Insane Icicle Display, Glenshane Pass - Jan 22nd 2013

“Where’s your shoes?”
“South Dakota does strange things to a person T.”

Well I guess it does.  I came into The Mercantile dining room the other day where a bridge lesson was taking place, and one of my friends was sitting at the table without any shoes.  I think it was about 17 degrees outside that day.  Folks around here are accustomed to some quirky individualism, but I had concerns, and I spoke them.  I got an answer.  I can live with it.

Just a couple weeks ago I was waxing poetic about the joys of First False Spring on a day I sat outside at the picnic table in January eating a salad.  What a day that was.  Was it really only three weeks ago?  I got up in the middle of the night last night and put on a long sleeve shirt over my short sleeve shirt, because my sheet, quilt, fleece hat, longjohns, wool socks and sleeping bag were not keeping me warm enough.

The cold does things to a person.

Every morning over coffee a couple of us seem to read over the same script with slight variations;  it’s like we’re reading a MadLib filling in only weather related terms.

Mornin’ ____.  How’d you sleep?  ____.  Last night it got down to ____.  Yup.  Felt like it was only ____.  Did you have any ____ on your windows?  Nope, but my ____ was frozen.  Dang.  It’s only supposed to get up to ____ today.  Yup.  The roads are going to be ____.  How about tonight?  Tonight, it’s supposed to be ____ with a chance of ____.  I haven’t seen weather like this in ____ years.  Yup.  I remember back in ____ we had ____ inches of ____ in January.  Yup.


There is a sense of comfort for me in summarizing the weather in this way.  Maybe it serves as an incantation against any harm coming to us from weather as if only unforeseen, unmentioned, or surprise jumping-out-of-a-cake weather can do us any harm.  As long as there have been firesides, and tables, and coffee, I am positive there have been conversations about weather.

The snow, especially the amount we have gotten which is about 14 inches in the last week according to me and my eyeballs, is doing some fascinating things that I’m not used to seeing with those measly 2 or 3 inch snows of recent years.  A 14 inch snow has some tricks up it’s sleeve.  Big, deep drifts are one such trick.  Find a spot where wind has scoured the snow down to the the grass and somewhere nearby you’ll find a spot that is 4 feet deep - physics and aerodynamics and such don’t you know.  And the sluffing off of snowbergs from the roof!  They moved like a retractable dome glacier on many roof edges here in the village and then spawned long icicles making the building look something akin to The Abominable Snowhouse getting ready to have me for lunch on my way to lunch.

It’s snow quiet after a snow.  Sorry.  It’s so quiet after a snow.  Taking a walk in the fluffy stuff before it turns into the crunchy stuff is ethereal.  Take that walk in the woods.  Ummm.

The wind yowls like snowcats fighting.  My hand went numb walking 50 feet across the courtyard from my place to Skyhouse.  It was getting scary cold.  Compared to that, a 30 degree day is warm, and I wonder if I really need this long sleeve shirt or not.

Never mind South Dakota.  Winter in Missouri does strange things to a person.


  1. You captured the essence of winter! My Grandfather’s family lived in a tent in South Kenosha for a time in early 1900’s. I asked was it hard, really cold? His response was, oh no, if we were in North Kenosha, Wisconsin it would have been, but we lived in South Kenosha �� The freedom to choose one’s perspective is a wonderful thing!

  2. Troy, Troy, Troy! You, kind and clever sir, are indeed a Wordsmith! You are gifted with a charming ability to create wonderful images through the written word. I just love it! Keep writning and we will all look forward to your book.
    Warm hugs,


  3. At the time you wrote this the polar vortex had not yet descended upon us. I do so hope you survived. I did, but I stayed indoors a lot.

    God Bless