I remember the winters of my childhood in Iowa, with the huge (or at least they seemed huge to my brother, sister and me) piles of snow that my father made with the loader attachment on his tractor. Digging tunnels in snow drifts. Running the sled down the lane to the road. The black boots with the buckles. Coming in soaking wet and cold, and having to change multiple layers of clothes.
It seems as if we just don’t have that kind of winter anymore. Global warming, I suppose. For the past few years here in Cleveland, where I’ve made my home for the past twenty-some years, we haven’t even had enough snow to go cross country skiing. But this afternoon, I am overjoyed to look out my office window and discover that it’s a white-out. I can barely see the rear entrance of Severance Hall, and not a bit of the lagoon in front of the Cleveland Museum of Art. It is amazing and it is classic lake-effect snow. (Probably a few miles south the sun is still shining and there is no snow.) The sun is just starting to set, and it’s beautiful.
But then I’m brought back to the reality that I have to drive home, and I promised I would take a friend of mine home, in the opposite direction. We need not be in a hurry, because I can imagine that–even though I can’t see them–the cars are totally stopped on Euclid Avenue. The beauty of the snow meets the horror of city driving.