Yeah, we live in an amazing place, with four incredible seasons. But winter has been brutal this year, and the blizzard at the end of last week was insult to injury.
268" is allegedly our total. Which is not unheard of for us, though it is above average. But the problem has been the snow and the extreme cold this year: none of it has had any opportunity to melt. As a result, I have walls of snow on either side of my driveway that are about ten feet tall.
What’s interesting to me is the way you learn to live differently in winter. I very nearly strapped my skis on to get to work today. I snowshoed to get groceries yesterday. While schools were closed on Friday, we’re back up and running today.
I’m not mocking other cities, places where an inch or two of snow means everything shuts down. Granted, an inch or two means flurries to us. But we have the equipment to remove massive amounts of snow, using road graders to clear the snow at night and an array of other stuff to get through.
It’s a kind of resiliency I think of when people mention living in places like the South Pole or Alaska or some place like that. Even a deserted island. We can adapt to a lot of things, but perhaps what helps us adapt the most is other people. That’s why I’m lucky to live in a community, a place that’s small but tightly knit. We get through it together.
What’s also kind of cool is the way winter is so silent. We can go out and explore, winter’s snow crunching under foot, and there’s quiet but not emptiness. It’s not the silence that makes your ears ring, but just an absence. It makes you stop and think. Like a day of fog and mist, you have to take the time to look within.
Winter’s greater reward, though, is that we can also see outward, across a field or a forest, down a mountain or along a frozen lake. We aren’t confined to the bit of space in front of us. We just have to give it a moment’s attention.
Yes, it’s getting hard to get around this late in the season. But I can’t think too many of us would trade it for anything. Stop, pause, and go. There’s plenty more time to go.
Words and photos by Kevin Hodur. Previously calling suburban Chicago and Portland home, Kevin now lives and works as a writer on Upper Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Catch more editions of The Road Rarely Traveled next time, written approximately whenever.