Growing up in India, I had never seen snow, except on television. Snowstorms were something I only read about in books. I would imagine fierce blizzards, the snow falling fast and furious, sounding like a tropical thunderstorm, only slightly louder. Snow looked so much bigger than rain drops, surely snow fall had to be louder than rain. In my mind, snowstorms only happened in Siberia or Greenland. I pictured eskimos braving the snow and going around in their sledges.
My imagination was so much better than the reality. Now, when I hear “snowstorm”, I no longer think of exotic places. My imagination has unfortunately been overtaken by memory. Now, I only remember the ghosts of snowstorms past. Here are some of my memories, that pass through my mind like a slideshow.
Sitting in my apartment, drinking hot tea and watching the snow pile up on my window sill. Reading about record snowfall in Central Park and turning up the heat.
Visiting Kings Canyon National Park in April and getting caught in a snowstorm. Driving through thick snowfall on curving mountain roads, without snow tires or chains.
Taking four hours instead of the usual thirty minutes to drive to the airport. Consoling myself that the flight must have been delayed too, in this weather. Reaching the airport and finding that the flight had left just a few minutes back.
Missing the connection in that storm magnet, O’Hare. Watching shorts-clad Japanese tourists camp overnight in the airport without even a blanket for warmth. The poor sods had assumed Chicago would be just a blip on their travel from Tokyo to sunny Los Angeles. Finding a hotel in Chicago in the middle of the night. Getting on the first flight out of Chicago. Finding out later that it was the only flight that made it out of O’Hare that day.
Going out after a storm to walk on the huge piles of freshly fallen snow, while the snow was still soft and white. Enjoying the feel of the soft snow before it turned into ice, or slush, and changed from pristine white to brown and black.
Walking quickly, head bowed to prevent the fast-falling snowflakes from falling into my eyes. Wondering how Maria von Trapp thought “snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes” was one of her favorite things. Rubbing my numb, frozen nose and walking faster.
Listening to my colleague’s accounts of snowstorms during her childhood in northern Minnesota. Stories of six-foot high walls of snow piled outside the front door. Stories about building igloos in their front yard, and about how winters are just not the same anymore.
I read about snowstorms in the Midwest and Northeast, and these are the things I remember.
What do you think about, when you hear about snowstorms? What do you remember? How do you feel about snow and snowstorms? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.