January 27, 2011
I look out on our fire escape and am slightly awed by the volume of snow piled there on top of grated iron. It grows and grows in thin strips of tall snow, expanding toward it’s neighbors outward with every inch it goes up. Until at last they meet and the grate ceases to exist beneath the snow and all is a solid carpet under a draped blanket of white.
Walking home last night the sidewalks were nearly impassable so we walked in the tire tracks of the last cars that managed to get up the hill. Walking up 19th St. from 5th Ave a car rounded the corner behind us and Vic pushed her way through the snow to the sidewalk and warned that I should move. I said I’d move when he reached us, which he never did. He just spun and spun and spun his tires, trying to grip what wasn’t there, melting the snow beneath his wheels, I’m sure only making it worse.
We were a block away or more when finally something reached us – the acrid smell of burnt rubber, exhaust, and defeat.
We had been lucky enough to catch a bus the 10 blocks to 19th from Vic’s bar. It was as in a dream of hopeless escape, pushing to run just as fast as you can but somehow moving in slow motion. So it was as the snowy sea came down from the sky and up from the ground under and around our cold wet feet.
The city has been good for the last few snowfalls, getting things cleaned up by the next day, but there is no defense against Mother Nature while she pummels you. Certainly you can and must start the plowing and salting and everything early- but until the snowfall stops, we are only at her mercy.
The speed of city life comes to a halt and the gears and machinery of our great society seemingly stand still. Rather, everyone holds their breath, watches and waits.
Today I decided that I would come to a half myself. While the city around me awoke and lit the fires of the cold furnace, I stayed in and read.
There will be time for me to catch up with the slow soggy progress that was made today. There will be plenty of time for that.