Predictions were for a “hard winter”, but what did that mean?
To start: much colder temperatures than usual, freezing water pipes, three inch thick ice, three foot piles of snow, uprooted trees, fallen branches everywhere, crushed and broken bushes, potholes in the roads, evidence of vehicles that did not stay road-bound, mailboxes knocked over by snow pushed by a plow, and loss of electricity for days.
Melting snow has revealed the plethora of fallen tree branches, muddy yards, weeks of hidden dog “fertilizer”, and roadside trash. Water often disguised potholes; driving on roads was hazardous.
I am tired from the adjustments needed for the winter onslaught, and now we are faced with the Spring clean-up. Mother Nature doesn’t bother with clean-up; her debris is allowed to decay and mulch into the landscape. But humans like to sculpt their surroundings, which includes tidy lawns and trees standing neatly. There’s a lot of work to be done to restore a controlled environment.
Serendipitously, tree trimming was done at my house the day before this storm. Relatively few branches fell here. Hauling those few to the nearby burn pile was easy. Drive two hundred yards in any direction, and you see piles of tree limbs along the sides of the roads, and an occasional entrepreneurial sign offering tree clearing and removal service. Every day, you can hear chain saws.
Now we’ve had a few warm days. Blessedly slowly, snow and ice are melting. The creek can cope with a slow melt. I am still using fallen twigs from white pines for traction. Yesterday, it was 70ºF; last night it was 20ºF, and today with the wind, it feels like 5ºF. What’s next on the hard winter agenda?
There was a time when we did not have weather predictions. We relied on instincts and observations of signals around us. In our complicated populated ever busy world today, weather predictions promote “snow brains” but allow time for preparation.
Regardless of the weather, people will still push their own agendas and get on the roads, determined to get where they want to go. Just ask the insurance industry.
Not me. When the roads are dicey, I cancel appointments and stay home.