- Education and Science
Things To Do in a Winter Snow Blizzard White Out
Imagine looking out your front door and seeing nothing except violently swirling snow. Where once you could see that rhododendron or pine tree in your front yard, now you can see only what looks like fog but has much more movement. This moving snow obscures everything beyond six inches in front of your face.
Imagine being on the road in your car and not being able to see past those six inches in front of your windshield.
Imagine being blinded by white, not black. You have no vision except as you imagine you should. And that denial can land you in a world of trouble.
This is a white out.
Worst Winter Conditions in Southeastern Pennsylvania History
Since the National Weather Service began keeping records in 1870, there has not been a winter season here like this one in 2010 in terms of snowfall, wind, and low temperatures. We’ve been socked in by record snows, ice, winds, and blizzard conditions.
Because of the timely forecasts of the National Weather Service, we were able to do our grocery shopping ahead of time, winterize our cars, lay in supplies of candles and flashlight batteries, and organize a neighborhood watch to look out after each other.
All in all, this has been a time of stepping out of our normal patterns of running errands, taking walks, visiting with neighbors, and going to work. We became housebound. So, what to do in a winter snow blizzard white out while we ride the storm and wait for relief?
Make Soup or Stew
Given that the stove works, make a pot of soup or stew. It makes the house smell great, it warms the body, and it cheers the neighbor you want to share it with, so long as you can navigate to the neighbor’s door through the blizzard conditions. If you don’t make it that far, then hopefully the neighborhood watch is looking out for you and will come to your rescue after you trip in the snow, fall flat on your face, and miraculously drop the pot level to the ground, still covered, with no spillage. Your only question at that point is, will they rescue the pot first, or you?
Cinnamon Loving the Blizzard
Watch the Dog Play
My Golden Retriever, Cinnamon, doesn’t give a damn about blizzards.
She will turn her face right into the wind, squint her eyes, take the stinging beating on face and fur, and then look for fun.
She will jump into a snowbank as if it were a tranquil pool of water, burying her nose deeply and disappearing from my view except for her wagging tail. She will come up from this submerging with a snort, a hop or two or three, and do it all again. Meanwhile, I shiver and grow impatient.
Bless her, she never grows impatient with me.
Those of us who have dogs that need to go outside to relieve themselves during these weather conditions are exceptionally vulnerable to perishing in the snow, risking being knocked over by 50 mile per hour winds, plunged face down into six-foot snow drifts, blinded by stinging snow, and bombarded by falling tree branches. All for the sake of the dog not peeing or pooing in the house.
How much do we love them?
Snow and Tree as One
See the Magic Where Snow Clings to Trees
While my dog is cavorting, I am growing impatient. But I don’t want to interrupt her joy.
I turn my attention to the trees and look to see how this snow has transformed them. They are heavily laden. Their branches no longer stretch to the sky; instead, they touch the ground under the weight of wet, clinging snow . It’s as if the trees are saying, “It’s time to hunker down, time to gain strength from the deep earth despite the ice and snow that would weaken us.”
I can’t help but think about the inner core of Earth, holding the energy that erupts into earthquakes and tsunamis...and also speaks to trees.
The Jesus, St. Nicholas Tree
Contemplate a Miraculous Manifestation
There is a strange tree clinging to my neighbor’s house. It is tall and thin, a conifer I guess; I will have to do more research. This past summer, a visiting friend saw this tree and dubbed it the “Jesus Tree”. Now, this tree with its cross being held in one hand is shrouded in snow and looking to be worth even more contemplation. The Christmas season has passed, but this tree makes me think of St. Nick. It also makes me think of continuity. This tree was looking like this, with its aspect of holding a cross, in the summer, and it is holding a cross still. This blizzard and whiteout are temporary. The Jesus tree stands.
The Snowman Greets Us
Build a Snowman
I am blessed with young neighbors, boys and girls who would rather freeze their fingers and toes off than come indoors. These children built the most wonderful snowman when the blizzard conditions ceased and the sun came out to smile, placing him right in the middle of the walking path to our joined houses. Their mother knocked on my door and asked if this snowman was obstructing my getting in and out of my house. I told her, “Hell, no!” I love him for his button eyes, carrot nose, and cheerful smile. My dog sniffs the snowman's bottom and approves.
What Not To Do in a Winter Snow White Out
Don’t think that you can carry on with your normal routine. If you get into your car, you imperil not only yourself but those around you, and you also make it more difficult for emergency personnel to do their jobs. This is a time for staying home. Welcome these few housebound days and love them. They can show you aspects of yourself that you would see in no other way.
And for Pete's sake, don't ever do this.