Snow jobs

I think the more beautiful place is, the more beautiful it is in the snow. Last night, as I was printing our year-end letters for our friends who have discovered life without computers — or at least, never discovered life with them — my printer’s cartridge became depleted, and my husband and I headed down the hill to Wal-Mart, in our first Valley snow. Certainly I’ve spent most of the years of my life where snow was an expected fact of nature, but it is nonetheless a wondrous and mysterious thing, especially one’s first snow in a new place, when the season’s first snow falls. I always think that the large windblown flakes resemble a meteor shower as we drive through them. Parenthetically, we missed this year’s Leonid meteor shower, to which I had looked forward with some optimism of a clear sky, but the clear night always gave way to predawn clouds. This morning, the hills were beautifully dusted with snow; now, the clouds and hills are of a piece, fused in uniform whiteness.

My husband wouldn’t be who he is if he didn’t get up on the roof in the snow to extend a drain vent. And since the temperature is supposed to hit -3° tomorrow, he was under the house checking all the pipes, and decided to wrap one, the main, that would normally be fine to 0°. My snowy day task was to go to the drugstore and grocery store in my ridiculous overstuffed winter gear that I never otherwise get to wear. It was 28°, hardly very cold: T-shirt weather to a veteran of 16 Montana winters; but cold and arthritis can compromise my pioneer self-concept.

When my husband finishes the snow jobs, he will begin nailing more wood floors in place — likely the hall outside my study — and I will need to select an evacuation route. As much as I would love to see the snow-glazed Valley from the Old Spiral Highway, I do not think I will brave the drive. I do well enough in tame captivity, like the library.

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