Two weeks ago we were visited by a blizzard. I love a big snow storm; I like hunkering down with enough supplies for days and the cozy feeling of having no reason whatsoever to wear anything but sweats. I like the blanket of quiet that settles over the city, either as the result of everyone else also being stuck inside, or because snow has special sound-insulating powers. I think it’s both. I like that for the next day, at least, everyone walks around waving to people, shaking their heads and smiling, as if to say “Can you believe this?” and also, “We’re in this together, friend.”
When a blizzard is coming people prepare, as you would assume. School was cancelled in anticipation of the upcoming storm, so after work myself and everyone else in the greater Boston area drove to the grocery store to stock up. Cold cuts for sandwiches, a loaf of crusty bread that could be frozen, taco night staples and a couple of apples and carrots just in case we were threatened with scurvy are what would hold us over through the storm. Plenty of coffee and tea and eggs for breakfast were also necessary. These are blizzard staples. No one even mention the power going out. I don’t want to talk about that.
As the snow started to fall on Friday, everything settled. It started steady but light and progressed into howling wind and near white-out conditions. The sky turned an ominous orange color that alluded to the fact that this was going to be a storm like I had never seen. As the night progressed, the snow drifts crept up the windows and it felt more and more like I was living in a white cocoon, which was surprisingly comfortable.
The storm was supposed to last into Saturday, but I awoke the next day to sunny skies. When I ventured outside, I was greeted with snow drifts higher than my knees that were piled up against my building’s door. Cars were completely covered, and people were trying tirelessly to free them before the snow turned into ice, rendering their car useless until spring. Exploring the city, I found people in skis, snow shoes, and some of the happiest dogs I’ve ever seen. Many sidewalks weren’t shoveled so people took the streets. Aside from the traffic lights, it felt like I woke up in Boston 200 years ago.
Unfortunately, the majesty of a blizzard has a shelf life, and that shelf life usually expires when cars are allowed back on the roads. Pure white snow turns to slush, plows push it aside creating giant brown snow mountains on every street corner, and people begin to long for the convenience of spring and summer. However, for the hours during the blizzard when one becomes a house cat, curling up in front of the heater for a nice long nap, and the hours following the blizzard when everything is brilliant white, the air is fresh, and people are bright eyed, it’s lovely.
I didn’t leave my city, and I didn’t really explore anything I hadn’t explored before, but I will tell you, a blizzard is definitely a detour. Sometimes a happy one, sometimes a scary one, but a detour nonetheless. I’ll leave you with my very own Blizzard Playlist in the form of youtube videos, because that’s the best way to blizzard.
Blizzard Playlist: Songs to Hunker Down To
1. Bennie and the Jets by Elton John, live in Edinburgh, 1976
2. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John featuring Billy Joel, Live at Madison Square Garden, 2000
3. King of the Road by Roger Miller
4. Coat of Many Colors by Dolly Parton
5. Long December by Counting Crows
6. Midnight Confessions by The Grass Roots
7. You Keep Me Hanging On by Vanilla Fudge (check out Carmine Apice on the drums, especially at 3:00. He’s worth seeing.)
8. Stay by Lisa Loeb
9. Rosanna by Toto (and then obviously listen to Africa immediately after).
10. Try a Little Tenderness by Otis Redding
11. (Sitting on) the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding
12. Midnight Train to Georgia by Gladys Knight
13. I Saw the Sign by Ace of Base
14. Somebody I Used to Know by Gotye
15. The Blower’s Daughter by Damien Rice
16. To Be With You by Mr. Big
Over the course of an afternoon and an evening, these songs were the soundtrack to our blizzard, random as they are.