Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Weary Of A Winter Wonderland

                                What you see above you is a photograph taken on over ten days from  when I write this,outside the dining room window where I live. On February 9th,2013 the upper East Coast was hit with a massive 'Nor Easter. This squalling snow storm gusted into the state of Maine in particular with 30-60 MPH winds and snow fall that was at roughly 32 inches in Southern areas of the state. It broke a record level of snow fall in the state that was set in 1979. It took almost a week or so for some of the more isolated areas to recover. Since that time,there seems to have been one winter storm,though not as severe as that blizzard,bombarding the state with snow and freezing rain. I've lived in this aggressive wintry environment for my entire life. And this storm that just occurred, mainly due to the fact it caused no loss of electricity for me personally,is in fact second only to another storm that occurred 15 years ago in another decade,another century and for me another place.

                           It was a Thursday-January 8'th,1998. A friend of ours had been visiting that day as she was moving to Boston. Since we had no Internet in those days,she of course said she'd call and write. Since the beginning of the year there had been one day of snow followed by one of freezing rain. On this day it was snow. Massive amounts of it. Only seconds after our guest left for the road,I turned on the television to begin watching ER and the power went off. We turned on the radio. The power was off for hours. I remember my mom,dad and I sitting around the table listening to my little battery powered SW band radio. Representatives from both local electric companies urged people to stay inside,not panic and to accept the conditions until they improved. I was 17 years old. I was extremely frightened. I don't recall what I ate when I went to sleep. When I awoke,it was to half of the power in the home. One half of the electricity was out,the other still off.

                          Since it was calm outside that day,the people in the apartment complex where we lived started helping themselves and others. Our maintenance men helped us move our refrigerator into the corridor so it would work. And there was this big blond auto mechanic named Wally who helped us shovel our car out in turn for us helping him get his car out of a snow bank. For the rest of the time I lived there,he considered me and my family friends and I never have forgotten Wally's kindness. Especially considering he lost hundreds of dollars worth of food and never asked anyone,even us,for a thing. Soon enough things slowly returned to normal. Our neighbor loaned us movies like Peggy Sue Gets Married and we managed to take a trip to our local Borders Books & Music where I picked up a rousing Isley Brothers CD called Go For Your Guns that kept my good spirits up. In a few days,full power to our complex had restored. No one had a particular name for it of course. But my family and I had just survived what is now known as the Ice Storm of '98.

                         Now that so much of my social life is online,I have known and befriended people who live in environments where they've never known such weather conditions. It's created a great deal of social awkwardness for me. Could someone born and living Austin Texas or Oakland California actually conceive of a climate where,for a good three months out of the year,there was a risk of weather conditions so dramatic one physically could not leave their home to go to work,see friends and neighbors,shop for groceries or other necessities? After 1998,this environment made a tremendous impact on my own personality even if it hasn't for others who live in the same conditions. In the warmer months,I don't often find myself living a selfish lifestyle. I am looking for new friends and interests to preoccupy me during difficult climactic times such as this. I am utterly convinced that anyone who thinks that extreme climates have no lasting effect on our way of life would be well advised to endure a storm such as the recent Nor Easter or the ice storm of 1998. Perhaps that would make all the difference for such a person.

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