Snow clouds, like gargantuan bags of frozen feathers, opened up and dumped all over the Midwest Friday and Saturday. I have friends out there. They commented on the beauty. Strong people, those who live in the farm belt.
They’re self-sufficient. Weather is a major part of life out on the plains, with no hills or mountains or vast woodland tracts to stand in the way of snow, rain, tornados or floods.
I’ve lived out there, and I’ve seen how quickly they respond when a storm of this size hits. The plows are out, clearing the stuff off the roadways. Sand trucks follow. The streets and roads are wider than most of the roads and streets here on the east coast, which were developed as horses, buggies, and wagons followed the same routes for years, around hills and mountains and alongside meandering creeks and rivers. Often, their names reflect their origins: Cowpath Road, Blue School Road, Mill Road, Creamery Road, Old Church Road, Forty Foot Road. These roads are all narrow, barely allowing for two-way traffic. I have immense respect for the school bus drivers who navigate them during the icy weather. Clearing them after a snowfall is a different challenge than what they face in the Midwest.
Time after time, out there, I watched as plows cleared opposite sides of the street at the same time, pushing the the snow into the middle of the street or doing that job with blowers attached to the plows. Then, dump trucks and bucket loaders took over, with the loaders dumping gigantic scoops of the plowed snow into the trucks, who drove it out of town and dumped it where it wouldn’t impede traffic. It was like watching a well-choreographed dance. In no time, the main streets were clear.
Out here, especially in the cities, the streets are often so narrow that it takes several days to get the mess cleaned up. Digging out a spot for one’s car becomes an Olympic event, because once you clear it, you have to put someone out there to save it until you get the car and park it there 🙂
I remember well, during my childhood in Minneapolis, that if it didn’t snow by Thanksgiving, there was definitely a problem somewhere. We anticipated that snow. When it finally came, we were out there in two or three pairs of pants, coats, boots, mittens, mufflers, hats. We slid, dug out caves, had snowball forts and fights, staying out until we were soaked and frozen. This was before the era of the snowmobile suits that kept you warm and dry for a lot longer!
Back inside we’d go, putting our wet gear over the radiators until it was dry. If it wasn’t too dark, we’d put it all on again and go back out for more. Fun times. The snow out there was usually wet enough for packing, but not the kind of wet we get out here, where it doesn’t get as cold.
The book of Job talks about snow:“Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail,” Job 38:22. There are others; the one most of us know best is probably Psalm 51:7.
PS. From the color of the sky and the velocity of the wind out there, I suspect there’s snow coming our way. Those gargantuan clouds must still have something leftover 🙂