My friend Bill dared me to write another "Winter Wonderland" post after this last snowstorm hit us in Jersey (and half the country). Knowing that most people we know are totally done with winter and all the snow. And I understand. I'm lucky that I don't have a 9 to 5 job to go to, or a job that requires me to work outside no matter the weather (although when I did as a young man I actually dug it). So I can go out in it to shovel the sidewalk, or my car out of the public parking lot I use, or to walk to the local grocery store etc. and enjoy that post-snowfall muffled stillness.
But because it was above freezing for the first time in what seems like weeks or months and the sun was shining today, crossing the street anywhere meant trying to step over rivers of slush sometimes half a foot deep, if you could find a break that had been shoveled between the giant snowbanks and snow hills the street plows made. That seemed to really bother everyone I saw trying it (stepping over the rivers of slush). I went out in my sneakers and they have a hole in the back, I guess to help you pull them on or something, so I can't step in anything wet that's more than an inch or so.
Yet, somehow I crossed the rivers of slush with a long enough stride that I didn't get my socks and feet wet. And walking down a newly shoveled sidewalk with the piled up snow from it next to me and the street on the other side, so the snowbank also included all the snow the plows shoved up there too and it came up almost to my shoulder seemed to me kind of extraordinary, an exceptional thing to experience and I could't help but feeling grateful for it.
And then I drove with my teenager up to The Berkshires in Western Mass. and the snow covered everything all the way up. Only the highways were clear of snow, and it was too warm for ice so the ride was no problem, as long as you looked out for potholes and avoided them (and the traffic was much less than normal for a Friday afternoon, especially on a holiday weekend) and all I could think of was how beautiful the world looked, the trees and hills and ponds and fields and yards and houses and barns and everything just covered with a thick layer of white, in some places about a foot and in others closer to two feet. Or more.
And in the end it did seem like a "Winter Wonderland" but as a concession to my friend Bill, I decided another description, especially when we passed through roads with tall trees on each side, their branches bowed down with snow, might be "snow jungle" and thus the title of this post. Now they tell me there's more on the way tomorrow, which I hope doesn't interfere with my teenager's snowboarding. As for me, I see they have a big screen showing of CASABLANCA tomorrow evening in Great Barrington in the refurbished Mahaiwe Theater, so this long and intense winter still seems full of surprises and rewards...for me.