I woke up this morning to a world of white trees. Four inches of snow covered the driveway and my truck. My husband had an early flight to the west coast, leaving no time to use the gargantuan snow blower. While he packed, I shoveled a path to the truck and cleared the snow off the windows, roof and windshield. He tossed in his suitcase. I brought along Princess because she is recovering from surgery. Husband put the car in 4WD and we started up the driveway as if no snow was there. “A piece of cake,” I whispered. “A piece of cake,” my husband said softly. We are so in sync. We drove to the airport, holding hands, snow falling softly.
Today is the one year anniversary of living in our Connecticut house. Last March, the sun was shining, the snow was melting and the movers were able to get our furnishings indoors without tracking mud. The grass peeking out from the snow was green. Spring was in the air. My biggest worry was that it would rain on the boxes of yard art and patio décor. “It won’t snow again,” New Englanders told me. I have learned one thing about the weather in New England. No one knows what they are talking about. Not the natives. Not the weatherperson. No one. They say ‘an inch’ and suddenly the snow is a foot deep.
We had an inch the other day. I cleared it off the driveway with a broom. The snow blower has to leave an inch of snow over the gravel so an inch needs to be done by hand. Today was a day for the snow blower. But I am not comfortable using the snow blower. It’s big. It’s heavy. And I am afraid of pushing the wrong button or lever at the wrong time, thus hurting the snow blower. I know it’s just a machine but it’s more than that. It’s a toy. My husband’s toy. It’s too new for me to wreck. Once I didn’t drive a new car for three years because it was his dream car. Then we replaced my plain but practical Jeep Cherokee with a fancy gold SUV and I drove his dream car for another five without a single accident. Still I hesitate.
In the truck this morning, husband says: “You have to be careful of things like that.”
“Like what?” I had been staring out the window admiring the snow on the trees, wishing I had a camera with me.
“It scares me that you don’t pay attention.”
Why? I’m not driving. I’m the passenger. Passengers get to stare out the window. But really it’s all right. Every time it snows, he gives me a lecture on how to drive in the snow. I know that it’s not the truck he’s worried about. We’ve been together so long; neither can imagine life without the other. I’m becoming good at driving in the snow. The hardest part is not to speed along. I just take my time. Where ever I’m going will still be there by the time I arrive.
The world here shuts down when it snows. School is delayed or canceled. People stay in. When I took my dog into the vet Thursday, I learned most of the other owners had postponed surgery because of the weather. We had half an inch snow. The dog had a fast growing tumor. I wasn’t going to wait. It was no different than driving in a bad rain storm. The roads are plowed. The snowmelt is down. I have to allow for extra stopping time. But the snow is so beautiful.
After twenty years in the same place, over forty years in a state without seasons, I love the challenge of a new environment. Seasons give life a new perspective. The view out my window today will not be the view out my window tomorrow. There is something poetic about that. I understand the poems of Robert Frost so much better as I watch the changing seasons. I think of Wallace Stevens walking from the Hartford Insurance Company to his house in West Hartford, thinking of poems. Mark Twain lived so many places before he settled in Hartford with his wife and children. Something about the change in perspective makes you think, analyze, consider. Life is unpredictable. So is the weather.