Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Deep into January

As I sit here at the computer I can hear the grinding groan of the snow ploughs in the street--the snow has been piled up deep enough on the sides of the road that it's making it hard to get around so the ploughs come along, scrape the snow from the sides into one big three-foot berm down the middle of the road, then a front-end loader comes along and scoops up the row of snow into the waiting dump truck.

They haul it off and dump it in spots around town, creating ramps of snow up the sides of the piles for the dump trucks to crawl up and unload, until the mountains grow so high they're as big as three-story buildings.  As spring comes they melt and all the dirt mixed into the snow remains behind, settling on top until the piles look like mountains of gravel and you'd never guess that under that gigantic mass there is enough snow to cover the state of Rhode Island (which isn't much of an exaggeration--there are glaciers around here that could easily cover the place). The last of the piles finally melt some time around the end of June.

I just took this picture out of the front window and it's about 10 o'clock here--still dusky and dim but clear and cold.  My thermometer is reading -3 degrees and Spencer is concerned about his ski meet tomorrow.  He's concerned two ways: unless things warm up to -1 they'll cancel the race.  It's the first meet of the season and he's ready to get out there so he doesn't want it scrapped but the thought of skiing in -1 is a bit more than he wants to tackle.  Either way, canceled race or not, he's going to have a tough time of it.

January is hitting hard.  We're in a cold snap and it's so dark and deep that I'm wondering why I ever decided to live here.  My toes and fingers are perpetual icicles and I sleep with five blankets on the bed.  I've put off going out to the mailbox for four days now--and when I finally went out this morning the box was covered with an inch of standing crystals and my finger froze to the metal when I lifted the lid. And as I was driving home yesterday the sun caught the ice crystals suspended in the frigid air and treated them just as if they were raindrops, making a shimmering, disturbingly cold rainbow of ice in the air above me.

But I've been promised by reputable sources that things should get better. We gained 4 minutes, 32 seconds of daylight over yesterday and January is the low point in the season--it's all downhill from here and if I can only make it to April I'll be home free.

Meanwhile, I've got my flowers inside and enough hot chocolate to last to spring.  If I can only remember to think warm thoughts.

20 comments:

MommyJ said...

You know, I've been complaining lately about the frigid, snowy winter we've been having here in the mountains of NC.

Oh, how i will not complain anymore! While our winter has been much worse than anything we southern folk are used to, it's still a cake walk compared your winter up there!

Thanks for making me feel better, even though I imagine that wasn't exactly your intent. :)

Kathy G said...

Are the extremely cold temperatures and copious amounts of snow normal for this time of year, or is this year different?

Lucy (aka RHarper) said...

It actually sounds cozy to me. *sigh*

Inkling said...

I wish we could trade places for a week. I miss snow. We got almost 9 inches of snow last week in one overnight dumping, and it was totally gone by the next morning thanks to monsoon season. Well, we don't really have monsoons, but we do have buckets of rain that routinely come down the majority of the year. I miss getting to cross country ski whenever I wish.

When my husband first brought me to the southern coast of BC, he told me it rained a few months of the year. Apparently, his definition of a few is 9. =)

Kayris said...

Now I feel guilty for complaining about our weather. But we DO have stupid leaky single pane windows and I feel like I've been shivering nonstop since November.

Anyway, last winter we got 2 blizzards in less than a week, dumping nearly 5 feet of snow on parts of Baltimore. That was just 2 storms. We ended the winter with almost 100 inches of total snowfall for a place that averages about 18 to 20. The city had to do the dumptruck thing just so traffic could flow, and dumped a lot of the snow into the harbor.

Reno said...

I've always wanted to live in Alaska. It's too sunny around here for me. But it does sound a bit depressing up there right now. Good luck!

Carinne said...

Its supposed to warm up to the 20's tomorrow. I hope it happens. We've been burning our wood stove all day lately.

momneverstops said...

I like the winter when I am inside with our fireplace on and a cup of hot cocoa in my hand. Snuggling on the couch with a good book too!

Staci said...

We just had a major snow storm (well, it was major for us!) here in GA that shut down the whole northern half of the state for a week.It was brutal...but probably a walk in the park for you Alaskans!

On another note, I'm so fascinated with Alaska and the amount of light ya'll get! I just can't imagine going to bed and it's still light! Craziness!!

Flea said...

And here I was wishing for snow. Dang it. You really should travel south in January.

Deb said...

We have the huge amounts of snow and bitter cold here in Central Wisconsin but I am glad we don't have the darkness. Calling for 20 below this week.

The Vegetarian-Eskimos said...

I hear ya! I pry myself out from under warm covers in the morning just to tuck into a warm blanket for coffee. It's time for one of those Alaskan runs to the sun!

Anonymous said...

Ohhhh, I am sooo in the same place! This week it has been hard to get out of bed in the morning and face the dark and cold. Planning to go to Hawaii at the end of the month for sun and warmth. :)

Lauri said...

Gorgeous necklace! I just the book on hold at the library, thanks for the idea!

Daisy said...

Keep that hot cocoa handy! We just stocked up today. Our hot cocoa mix is nearly out. At least I still have coffee!

Krista said...

You have just handily reminded me why I do NOT want to move to Alaska! Although we have plenty of friends there.
We got our cold spells here - it was in the single digits for a couple weeks in December. But today it was 50 degrees and I was sitting outside Starbucks with a friend and had to take my coat OFF!
This isn't normal here either, but I'll take it!

Catherine said...

But if you think about it, it's really been a MILD winter! We normally have a lot more snow by now and besides the recent cold snap, I think it's been a relatively easy winter so far!

Amelia said...

oh my! I'm having a hard time adjusting to winter back in Michigan after living in FL, but you just gave me some perspective. Hope you get your warm(er) streak!

Carissa(GoodNCrazy) said...

And here I am whining about my cold feet. I'll stop now. That picture is really 10AM in the morning?? OY. I wouldn't stand a chance, the darkness would kill me off. The cold would be hard, but the darkness? no way.

Melody said...

I'm going to be moving from Colorado to Alaska this summer and plan to be there for the next few years...the long winters are my main concern and darkness will be the big challenge for me I believe. But I'm excited for the change!!