On the Day After

The snow began falling at 10 o’clock Friday night.

Work, last week, being what it was, prompted a number of us at the office to go to the local Irish pub after work. At the time, the forecast was calling for about twelve inches of snow. At the pub, one of the graphic designers passed around her cell phone — the latest forecast was between twenty-four and thirty-six inches.

When I went home Friday night, for fun I went for a walk through one of Baltimore’s neighborhoods. I wanted to see the rowhouses decorated at night, trees decorated and lit in the windows. It was chilly, but the bracing air was refreshing, even as bundled up as I was in a heavy woolen coat. Street lights illuminated the gloom, and the uneven sidewalk, made of brick, gave the neighborhood an old-fashioned, antiquated feeling.

I could tell, just from the lights of downtown reflecting on the sky, that heavy clouds lay overhead. The snow would arrive, perhaps momentarily.

It arrived at ten.

My grandmother spent Saturday morning watching one of the local television channels and their storm coverage. It was all they showed. Reporters standing here, reporters standing there, footage of snow falling, footage of cars spinning their tires, Dopler radar maps. My grandmother was captivated by this coverage. She didn’t realize that it was snowing here, that the news coverage was about this storm. When she looked out the windows, she thought it was fog she saw.

Snow continued to fall throughout the day. I could watch, from my office desk, as snow piled up on the roof outside my bedroom window. A picnic table and a stump out the dining room window had massive piles of snow on top, and those mounds grew. The base of the stump vanished as the snow fell. The steps on the kitchen stoop disappeared, first the bottom step, then the second, until the snow was level with the base of the door.

I would look out the front door from time to time. The main road was white throughout the day. Cars would drive past the house — very very few in the morning, but more later in the afternoon and evening — and I thought that the cars were taking the road far too fast.

Somewhere past seven, the snowfall ceased.

Officially, Baltimore received something like twenty-one inches. The seventh highest snowfall on record. This one snowfall was larger than Baltimore’s annual average snowfall (nineteen inches).

(The largest snowfall on record in Baltimore, by the way, is the snowfall that snowed in Farpoint about five years ago. That was twenty-eight and a half inches officially.)

It’s sunny. The road is clear. The driveway is not. The snow outside the bedroom window seems more compact than last night. There’s been a little melting today.

I’m congested in the sinuses today. It’s irksome. Sneezy and phlegmy.

Today feels wintry and Christmassy. I feel like listening to cello music.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *