‘Stormageddon’ makes for very interesting Monday
By Paula O’Kray
Well, here it is Monday night, and I’m sitting in front of the laptop in my dining room watching the snow fall and listening to the wind howl like everyone else. A few have referred to this evening as “Stormageddon,” and after trying to keep up with the shoveling, I think that might be a good title for it.
Because I just couldn’t keep up. After using two different shovels and a snow-blower, it was still coming down with no mercy, and it was hard to tell where I had done anything at all. Still, it was pretty, and I was having fun in spite of all the work it was.
I came inside after I was finished, with the dog looking all frosted, as if someone had dusted her with confectioner’s sugar. She didn’t seem to mind, though. My clothes had snow encrusted to it like it would when I’d come in after playing outside for hours in the snow when I was a kid, and that thought made me smile.
Earlier that day, there had been no sign of it. I had taken the day off and was working in my spare room on a project when I decided to take a break. Many times when I get into a big project, my dog comes to let me know that I’ve been at it too long, and I need to take a breather. She tells me in the sweetest way possible. She’ll come into the room in a very excited way, with a very happy expression on her face, tail wagging madly behind her.
I’ll tease her by saying, “What …?” and she’ll sit up, jabbing at me with her paws in the air and “plead” with me to pay attention. I’ve always been a sucker for brown eyes, and this dog knows how to work hers to get what she wants. It’s a little game we both enjoy.
After a few moments of this irresistible cuteness, I finally say, “OK, let’s go!” and she will fly down the stairs like a lunatic. Typically I can’t get ready fast enough for her, and when it’s cold out it takes even longer due to all the layers required.
Knowing the storm was about to hit, I threw on the warmest clothes I had, and we headed for the dog park. Believe it or not, I wasn’t the only crazy there. When we arrived, I was a little surprised to see there was not one, but several other cars. Just as we got inside the gate, the wind already beginning to whip, and I heard someone exclaim, “Here it comes, it’s starting!” I hadn’t noticed, but a few flakes had begun to fall. I laughed to myself, because it was really not much snow at all, and the sound of alarm in the woman’s voice was pretty amusing. The snowpocalypse had begun!
We usually take the main route around the park most of the year, but once the snow falls, I like to take the path at the park that goes along the fenced perimeter. It’s more appealing for a lot of reasons. There’s a lot less traffic, there’s a lot less wind, and it’s a lot more scenic, not to mention challenging.
It’s a very rough trail even without any snow, and after a foot or so of it falls, if you don’t stay on the packed trail, you’ll be sorry you strayed. One false step and you might find yourself up to your knees in the soft stuff.
My dog likes it better too. She is super excited when she knows we’re going to take the trail, and is almost constantly running up and down the path, as if there was just too much to take in at the moment. She’s 10 years old, but she acts like a puppy every time. Must be the snow, because it makes me feel the same way. I’m sure there’s a larger variety of smells to smell, not to mention nooks and crannies to explore, and from a dog’s point of view, it’s the best. From the look of the way she bounds down the trail, she’s having the time of her life.
She’ll generally run ahead of me, and if I’m out of her sight for too long, she’ll run back down the trail to check on me. We generally check on each other while at the park, but she can move a whole lot faster, so she does more checking on me. She’ll come around a corner with a look on her face, as if to say, “You coming? What’s taking so long?” and I will reply, “I’m coming, I’m coming!” And satisfied, she’ll bound off again.
This day though, the wind was an issue even on our “less windy” path, and as we continued down the trail, it began to snow harder. The wind continued to increase in intensity, and it was a bit eerie to pass by the towering old trees and hear them creak and groan. There were a lot of fallen branches, and I moved along the path a bit more quickly, hoping that the chances of them falling when I was directly beneath them were statistically low.
It was actually kind of exciting watching the storm grow as we kept along the trail. My dog was way out in front of me, and she was having a great time, rocking and rolling all over the place. Part of the trail was flooded along the river, and there was a secondary route to avoid it.
As I got closer to the stream that runs alongside the park, I noticed a handful of ducks paddling along all fluffed out and shivery, and I shouted to them over the wind, “Shouldn’t you guys be somewhere in Florida right now?” They just gave me a look as they paddled away.
By the time I got back to the front of the park, the storm was in full swing. Since I was dressed properly for the conditions, I was actually enjoying it. Well most of it, that is. The snowflakes ramming into my face at top speed was just a bit uncomfortable until I adjusted my hood and scarf to deflect it.
I was surprised to see even more cars once I got within sight of the parking lot. It was interesting to see how other dog owners were dressed. A man showed up with his young daughter and their shepherd puppy, and in typical dad fashion, both were underdressed. Not to worry though, they figured it out and turned around before long and headed back.
Another interesting sight was two women walking without any head coverings at all and each holding a cup of take-out coffee. I can’t imagine it was a leisurely walk they had that day at the park. Surprisingly, there were many hatless ladies at the park with open jackets, and all I could think was how glad I was to be absolutely fine with being terribly unfashionable right then.
I was nice and warm, and could have easily stayed out there for another hour, but I wasn’t sure my dog shared that sentiment, so we loaded up in the car and headed home.
I know I’m going to have to shovel all this white stuff in the morning, but I still get excited about watching it fall. I guess there’s something about storms that remind me of how uncontrollable Mother Nature is, and how we just have to deal with whatever she decides to dish out. And I like that feeling. No matter how advanced our technology gets, controlling the weather is most likely something that’s not likely to happen, and that’s how it should be.