The flakes began Wednesday night, not Friday as they’d said. I should’ve known when they started canceling evening events, but I’d been periodically checking the weather forecast through out the day.
My colleague said she’d never heard of a “blizzard watch,” though I’m certain there’d been others before now. And when the fire alarm sent us outside on drill in the 30 degree temperature, it smelled like snow. The ominous clear grey skies were increasing the student buzz about days off. We weren’t expecting to be off on Thursday, but I’d prayed they wouldn’t force us into school with predicted snowfall on Friday.
The well stocked shelves of the grocery store belied the fervor of scared shoppers stocking up for the unknown. On Wednesday afternoon, their fears weren’t yet real. Friday morning, though, after hundreds of accidents and disabled vehicles, lengthened commutes and closed public transit, the store’s meager remnants were hardly beckoning. The bread, milk, and meat isles were sparse.
Then the real snow began. It started with non-threatening flurries and maintained the slow decent for hours. The white collected, stuck to the chilled pavement, built in increments. By 1:30, it increased and the winds created swirling tornadoes of snow as our neighborhood began to disappear.
At 5, I realized we’d not ventured out. Piling on layers of clothes, the kids and I trekked into the blinding elements. Ri didn’t remember a snow like this. Ya was surprised by the icy collection of flakes mingling with the fluffy, good for nothing build up. This was not snowball worthy.
And my newly crowned teen found restraint, showing her maturity. I don’t know how much longer she’ll be a kid. That carefree exploring of youth is quickly ending. Now, it’s Ri who picks up boulders of ice to hurl at me. It’s she who laughs at the frenzied clouds disrupted from descent by heavy gusts, at the collection of snow on her lashes.
But Chi delights in being Ri’s playmate. She lets go of appearances to give baby sister experience. Ri runs, Chi chases. Ri circles back, running right to her would-be capture. And they laugh as she’s swept up into an embrace and swung around and around.
Meanwhile, Ya perfects snow angels on the impassable street. He samples snow. And he sits in shock when Ri tosses loose snow at him, somehow covering half his face.