Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Well hello there, winter

A good ol' Oklahoma panhandle snow storm is blowing its way through Wisconsin today, dumping something like 6-10 inches on those of us in Madison and generally making a mess of the roads. Area school kids lucked out with a snow day, but most of us poor working fools still had to make the choice between making the trek to our various jobs or missing a days' pay.

Being the stubborn, hearty soul that I am, I opted for the 15-mile drive to work. It wasn't fun, but we made it (the decided lack of other cars on the road probably helped).

This is exactly what I suspected would play out when I went on a very pleasant walk last evening through the first, calmer part of the snow system. Since school snow days filled with sledding and hot chocolate are sadly a thing of the past for me now, I decided that it was a good chance to get out and enjoy myself before mundane responsibility set in the next morning. Camera and tripod in hand, I headed out into the neighborhood, passing a few people walking dogs lightly dusted with white, eventually making my way to Circle Park. I set up and took a few pictures near the powder covered merry-go-round, then strolled down to the lake and back.

Other than the ever-present distant rushing of cars out on the main roads, the only sounds were the falling snow, geese out for a paddle on a patch of still exposed water, and the occasional peal of laughter from two young girls who were building a stumpy little snowman nearby.

People's Christmas lights reflected everywhere, casting a warm glow across the accumulating snow, and here and there I caught a quick glimpse through a front window into a cozy living rooms and kitchens.

A good pair of boots, a warm jacket, gloves and hat, jeans, and my natural internal furnace kept me warm as I went - and I couldn't help but feel extremely grateful that I was so fortunate as to be able to really enjoy such a walk. And it was good for my mind, which I think has lately been a little more overloaded than usual with various issues of varying degrees of importance.

Sometimes a nice walk through the snow is all it takes to shake that off, though. What does it for you?


Anonymous said...

The same...it actually snowed here today. Yesterday it was 70 and today 27...must be Oklahoma in December!


Emily said...

Ah, December in Oklahoma. As I remember it, it was just crazy windy and the temperature fluctuated wildly but at most we'd get an inch or two of snow. Which, of course, lead to absolute panic among native drivers. :)

Anonymous said...

Well, being originally from the Texas Panhandle myself (Amarillo), I know what you mean about a walk through the snow, which I sorely miss; not much snow here in Austin. Shoot, we'll sometimes go several years without so much as a hard freeze around here.

There are all kinds of greenbelts and the like scattered throughout town, and it's nice to get away from things there, but I don't think anything beats the walk in the snow. There's something about the quality of the silence that makes it different.

Peter Patau said...

Lovely essay, and really beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing.

Reem Tara said...

Beautiful pictures!

Emily said...

apc - Texas panhandle get a lot of snow, too? My only experience with that area was driving through it on my way out west. And hooooly crap did it feel like it took forever to get through. Not much out there but scrub land and oil derricks.

MG & RT - Thanks much!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, lots of 2-3 inches, the occasional 10-12 inches, and once in a great while, 18+ inches. Amarillo's really high, nearly 3700feet above sea level.

You're right about the scrub land and oil derricks, though, especially if you went through on I-40. Contrary to popular belief, there is scenery in the Panhandle (admittedly not much), but they built the interstate to avoid all of it.

And like the Oklahoma you remember, crazy windy. My theory is that it's the constant howling of that relentless wind that creates such a virulent strain of redneckery in that part of the country.

The Lost Albatross