13 January 2011

diary of a snow day...

We've finally gotten a proper snowstorm, one that deposited some twenty or so inches of fluffy snow throughout our region.  I awoke at 4:30 AM  and an hour later was outside clearing the front walk.  By the time I had finished this modest chore, another half inch had fallen.   I returned inside and fashioned a small snowball from the snow that had accumulated inside my hood.  I slid this across the floor and into Foof's paws, but she seemed entirely uninterested in it.  

Out again by 7:30, having noticed a large flock of sparrows gathering around the nearly empty feeders. Two mourning doves were perched atop the pergola.  For a species of bird that is famously skittish, these two were remarkably composed. 

Massive plows are trying to clear the streets, and, as is usually the case, not doing a very good job of it.  A plow rumbles by and with its plowing device angled toward the side street, leaves an enormous berm of compacted snow at the intersection.  One intrepid woman drives up to it just minutes later and attempts to make her way across.  I watch this, first fascinated by her persistence then irritated by what seems like thick-headed obstinacy as she tries for the seventh time to make her way through this blockade.  Suddenly, a sleek SUV appears from the opposite direction and a man sporting a jaunty banded fedora and bearing an astonishing resemblance to Justin Timberlake springs from the vehicle to help her.  Then, several men appear out of nowhere, and the struggling car is released from its mire by the chivalrous boy band.

A large cat head has been drawn on one window of my car which has almost completely disappeared into the snow.  I confront Bob, whose throaty purrs and burbles betray his attempt to confuse the matter.  In a conversation with my mother later that day, I mention the curious case of the feline portrait and she, whose arcane perceptions continue to impress on me the idea that we are speaking entirely different languages, says that my description of the image reminds her of...... Stonehenge.    I have learned not to argue with logic like this and I agree that yes, the cat head is undoubtedly the work of Druids.  Or extraterrestrials, she adds.  The usual suspects. 

A smallish crow gang is hanging around and I toss a few handfuls of crackers into the snow.  The crows instantly swoop down to capture the treats.  One crow, his beak full of Carr's Water Biscuit, swans beneath the mock orange to elude the gaze of the other crows.  He hunkers down into the snow and glides gracefully around the magnolia, still clenching his prize.

I am continually amazed by people who claim to take twenty or thirty minute naps and awake rejuvenated.  I am incapable of doing this.  My naps last at least two hours and I always wake up so befuddled and disoriented and useless that I do everything in my power to avoid them.  This afternoon, however, I became helplessly entombed in sleep.  Perhaps getting up at 4:30 in the morning is not a sound idea.

By 8:00 the snow had stopped.  Having enjoyed such a productive day and exhausted by the effort, (see above),  I decided to watch a PBS documentary on happiness.  In an attempt to focus on the sort of things that people find necessary to experience happiness, the documentary profiled a number of people who were not so happy: someone who had been diagnosed with cancer, someone who had fallen from a great height and had extensive nerve damage and seizures as a consequence, someone who had dived into a pool and broken his neck, someone who had been captured during the Vietnam War and held hostage for eight years, and someone who had worked for Lehman Brothers.

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