When I was little Mama made a long ribbon out of red felt with small Christmas ornaments about the size of a golf ball tied along its length. Beginning December 1 I’d untie an ornament each day, starting at the top. Each vacant spot on that ribbon assured me that Christmas was truly drawing closer even though the month seemed to be passing slower than ketchup from a bottle. Finally---oh, at last!---I’d reach the bell at the bottom which tolled the joyous news that Christmas Eve had arrived.
Now that I”m a grownup the days from December 1st to Christmas Eve don’t creep along; they come at me like a bullet train. And while I love Christmas Day I don’t feel the wild-eyed anticipation I experienced as a child.
That’s why I love a snowstorm.
Here in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley forecasters usually start talking about the chance of snow several days before the event. It begins as almost an off-hand comment, something along the lines of “Models say there’s a chance of a significant storm at the end of the week.” My ears perk up and my internal weather radar comes online.
I visit weather websites and pay closer attention to the news. I ask the serious weather watchers in my circle about the movement of cold fronts and high- and low-pressure systems. As the meteorologists grow more confident of their predictions my excitement begins to build. By the time a Winter Storm Watch has been issued I’m almost giddy with anticipation.
|Shoveling must deplete your potassium...|
In the day or two before a storm hits---as the Winter Storm Watch is replaced by a Winter Storm Warning---the entire region becomes caught up in Snow Madness. Some of us are mad as in crazy excited over the possibility of piles and piles of fluffy flakes while others are just...mad. The former group buzzes in the grocery store aisles and chats with complete strangers about how much snow we’ll get and “Do you remember that storm in 2010?”
The latter group pushes their carts about with the same cheer you’d expect from soldiers heading into Armageddon. An acquaintance told me yesterday about a scene she witnessed at a local Costco: Agitated shoppers yelling at a hapless young man about the fact that the rotisserie chickens had sold out. I never even knew that adequate storm preparations included rotisserie chicken. When faced with a South Carolina ice storm the only items Mama and Daddy insisted on having on hand were coffee and toilet paper.
When I got up this morning we were still under a Winter Storm Warning for today but the Weather Channel said we've have blizzard conditions tomorrow. Having lived in Nebraska, Colorado and North Dakota I know how dangerous blizzards can be as the wind whips the falling snow into a white curtain and drops the wind chill to wicked levels. That’s why I pause my Happy Snow Dance long enough to pray for the homeless and all the essential personnel who must venture into the storm. I’m thankful that our community provides extra shelter for those in need during the winter.
As I write this I’m bundled up in my softest fleece jacket, watching the first fat flakes drift to earth. The snow started falling about half an hour ago and Mr. Pettit and I are ready for whatever the storm brings. We have extra batteries, gas for the snow blower, and, of course, plenty of coffee and toilet paper.
It’s here! It’s here! Merry Snow Day to all!