Deep into January

As I sit here at the computer I can hear the grinding groan of the snow ploughs in the street–the snow has been piled up deep enough on the sides of the road that it’s making it hard to get around so the ploughs come along, scrape the snow from the sides into one big three-foot berm down the middle of the road, then a front-end loader comes along and scoops up the row of snow into the waiting dump truck.

They haul it off and dump it in spots around town, creating ramps of snow up the sides of the piles for the dump trucks to crawl up and unload, until the mountains grow so high they’re as big as three-story buildings.  As spring comes they melt and all the dirt mixed into the snow remains behind, settling on top until the piles look like mountains of gravel and you’d never guess that under that gigantic mass there is enough snow to cover the state of Rhode Island (which isn’t much of an exaggeration–there are glaciers around here that could easily cover the place). The last of the piles finally melt some time around the end of June.

I just took this picture out of the front window and it’s about 10 o’clock here–still dusky and dim but clear and cold.  My thermometer is reading -3 degrees and Spencer is concerned about his ski meet tomorrow.  He’s concerned two ways: unless things warm up to -1 they’ll cancel the race.  It’s the first meet of the season and he’s ready to get out there so he doesn’t want it scrapped but the thought of skiing in -1 is a bit more than he wants to tackle.  Either way, canceled race or not, he’s going to have a tough time of it.

January is hitting hard.  We’re in a cold snap and it’s so dark and deep that I’m wondering why I ever decided to live here.  My toes and fingers are perpetual icicles and I sleep with five blankets on the bed.  I’ve put off going out to the mailbox for four days now–and when I finally went out this morning the box was covered with an inch of standing crystals and my finger froze to the metal when I lifted the lid. And as I was driving home yesterday the sun caught the ice crystals suspended in the frigid air and treated them just as if they were raindrops, making a shimmering, disturbingly cold rainbow of ice in the air above me.

But I’ve been promised by reputable sources that things should get better. We gained 4 minutes, 32 seconds of daylight over yesterday and January is the low point in the season–it’s all downhill from here and if I can only make it to April I’ll be home free.

Meanwhile, I’ve got my flowers inside and enough hot chocolate to last to spring.  If I can only remember to think warm thoughts.

buford family events

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