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Friday, December 18, 2009


snow lines

The weather forecasters weren't fooling. I wonder if it would have snowed if only 40% of the people believed it would snow when they heard the forecast. I can't help but think about global warming, which has become something like a politician running for election. If not enough votes back him up, he gets nowhere. It's like the snow. If not enough people believe the forecast, will the snow not fall? It's funny about the global warming issues that it's a political party opposed to believing it, whose members follow the party line, no matter how ridiculous it is, even when it's self-defeating. What does that mean? Nothing. What is, is. Believe it or don't. The sun is a star in the Milky Way Galaxy. If somebody doesn't believe it, it makes no difference. Anyway, enough people must have believed it would snow, if that made any difference. It looks like global warming will have to wait until 51% of Americans believe it. It continues up for election.

Around 4 I went outside for a walk up the road in the snow to get a feel for it and some photos. I wanted to get photographs of the falling snow. The snow was falling so fast out of the east I had to walk to the west to keep the snow out of my face and off the camera lens. Wasn't much but Christmas trees. It would have been better to walk in the woods where the snow falls straight down. Nonetheless, it inspired me to get my winter coat out of the closet I've not worn in several years. It's warm and has a hood that keeps the flying snow off my neck. The snow is powdery. It doesn't stick to wires and narrow tree limbs. If we have wind tonight, this snow will be bad to drift. I'm glad it's not sticking to the wires. It's the easiest kind of snow to walk in. It even has some traction in it making it less slippery than other kinds of snow. The tracks I made three hours ago are now as if they never were.

Jr told me that in the big snow of 1960, at least 5 feet that drifted big. He helped clear the roads of the county with a bull-noser. He pushed snow 14 hours a day for 21 days in a row. It was cold and windy. The snow he was pushing was blowing all over the place, esp around him. He showed me a locust tree once when we were out riding back roads on Meadow Fork Road where he'd been clearing with the bull-noser. He had marked the bark of the tree with the scoop in front. He measured it later and mark was 35 feet up the tree. The snow was deep back in there. It must have been a curious sight for him, riding the bull-noser on top of 35 feet of snow, the crowns of trees sticking up out of the snow.
My first winter in these mountains, I went into as unprepared as could be done. Arrived just in time for winter. Somebody I knew before, told me I'd be back in January. My thought at the time was, you don't know me. Before I left for the mountains, only 5 people I knew believed I knew what I was doing. Those 5 knew me. The others did not. That first winter was something to behold. It snowed so much I could not get off the road with the 4wheel Jeep pickup to get firewood, which I'd not had a chance to put up in advance. I was cutting trees from the side of the road, as directed by Tom and told which particular trees to take. That winter it snowed a foot, the top melted and refroze at night several times, giving it a good crust. Then it snowed 16" on top of that and the same thing, the top thawed in sunlight and froze at night, making another crust. These two layers of snow shrank as time went by, but not much. Two crusts to bust through every step.
Some years later I had to walk to the barn where I fed the cows in 16" of snow that fell in the night and the day before. I found a calf had been born. It was lying on the snow. I picked it up and carried it to the barn to get it out of the snow, hoping mother would follow. No. She wouldn't leave the spot where her baby had been. I carried it back out to her, to show her this is her baby, follow me. I walked to the barn and she wouldn't follow. I went ahead and put the bales of hay around for them to munch on. Then I took one to where the calf had been on the snow. Mother cow wouldn't leave the spot. I spread hay on the snow fairly thick to make an insulated cushion, went back to the barn, carried the calf again, and put it down on the hay.
This present snow is forecast to be a kind of "perfect storm" where two storms met and became one. It's not snowing now at 8:45 pm. No breeze. Peaceful and quiet out there. And 24 degrees. In the morning I'll wake up and see what happened in the night. If it doesn't snow any more, I can go out early and shovel the Catfish out of its parking place easily and get to the radio station. I'd like to drive the Catfish in this kind of snow to get the feel for it. New tires and front wheel drive, it will do about as good as 4wheel. The roads will be packed down snow on top of ice. Slick. With a new vehicle, I'd like to get some time in feeling how it drives in these conditions. It seems to have a good center of gravity.
A walk in these mountains in snow can be as magical a moment as anything called magical. Mountain landscape in snow is as beautiful as it gets. I drive along and gawk like somebody in NYC the first time. In the navy it was against the rules to "skylark." That means hang about and watch the ocean. I did that all the time. I didn't have to be any particular place to see it. I was always aware of it. Indoors, I had the motion of the ship. I loved the ocean. It's the same with these mountains. In snow is mighty nice. I can't say it doesn't get better, because about June they're rather remarkable, autumn colors are too. Snow is one of the many beautiful moments in these mountains. Every day has its own beauty, but some days are extra special, like when the mountains are covered with a blanket of snow.

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