Sunday, January 18, 2009

Today's snow, as opposed to last week's snow...

It's been colder than usual lately (below freezing, even during the day), so very little of the snow from the last snow has melted, and that which did is now a layer of ice in the driveway, on the sidewalk, or pretty much anywhere you don't want ice. I've been told that it doesn't snow as often when it's very cold, something about the amount of water the air can hold, but it snowed last night.

Today's snow is fluffy, like the plastic stuff they use in department store windows and movies to approximate snow. It's weightless and dry; easier to sweep than to shovel. But I shoveled anyway. It didn't take long, and was rather easy. But I like the wet snow, the stuff that makes you feel like you're really doing work, the stuff that weighs down the shovel and makes noise when you toss it with a jerk of the shovel. It slides right off and lands exactly where you put it. (Today's snow simply floats away, never really leaving me satisfied with a job well-done.) No, I like the wet snow at noon, the warm morning-after snow that leaves only a puddle once it's gone. If you get to it at just the right time, the puddle will dry up before nightfall, and the only ice will be a thin layer on top of the drifts, and only dry cement where you shoveled it. Today's snow is still everywhere, getting into the cracks in the bottom of my snow boots, disguising the ice from the last storm, and making the world look like a department store window. Nothing melted today.

I don't know how, but the feral cats (or at least one of them) can survive this cold weather. Maybe someone helps them out, like Bruce did the year there was only one. He upturned a wheelbarrow and put a blanket underneath, to serve as a shelter. Once in a while he would put some fresh water and food for whatever found it. This year there's too many cats to keep track of, though they certainly make some tracks. I've decided that the male(s) have a set route around the neighborhood. (I'm not sure how many share this route because I've seen several trace it, but I don't know whether there is a struggle for territory.) They come in front of the upholstery shop next-door, up the driveway, under at least one of the cars, and here they might detour. They might stay by the wall, go behind the garage, the garden, make a right at the fence, and escape through the fence into the apartment parking lot behind us. But if they're bold (and they usually are, I think), they'll walk straight down the path, around the corner by the back door, around the corner to the front door, down the front stairs, and directly across the street. I found evidence of this bolder path in the snow today.


  1. You're awesome. And I too have been reflecting on the different flavors of snow, though I don't have to shovel and thank goodness for it. My favorite is the very tiny, dense snow that squeaks lightly like cornflour (or zipping zippers) under your boots when you walk.

    I hope there is another installment of the Incredible Adventures!

  2. Ah, I should have taken more pictures! It snowed overnight again (two nights in a row!) and this morning there were more tracks going in all directions! Some went up the driveway under my car (as expected), another set diverged at the back stairs and went into the neighboring yard, and of course there were the standard around the back, to the front, and across the street. Maybe I'll have time to get some more pictures tomorrow.