Admit it: This storm was pretty coolSAM COOK: We don’t often get the chance to be truly humbled by the force of nature. Let’s face it, on some crazy level, we just love these big snows. Here's a smattering of snowstorm scenarios.
By: Sam Cook, Duluth News Tribune
A smattering of snowstorm scenarios:
The wee-hour shoveler: At 1:30 a.m. Thursday, a lone figure, armed only with a shovel, did battle with the snow in his driveway. A single guy, he lives in Rice Lake Township north of Duluth. The snow there drifts badly in an east wind, which had been blowing for three days now. The snow was somewhere between two and three feet deep.
He had shoveled once, mid-storm. But his drive had been plowed shut again by the county plows, and now he had only a narrow window between when the snow stopped and when the falling temperatures would solidify it into concrete. This guy is young, fit. He’s not afraid of work. But he was overmatched by this snow.
“It occurred to me that I just might not ever get through it,” he said.
Then he saw a private plow truck coming down the road. He stood at the edge of the road.
“I thought maybe he’d swing in and just make one push through the wall of snow,” the man said.
He watched the truck come. For a moment, his dark world grew bright as the big plow truck rumbled up. Then drove right on past.
He wasn’t mad at the plow driver. He had just hoped – maybe.
He picked up his shovel and began hacking away at the drifts again.
Snow day: Did I dream this? Facebook reported three brief shortages of exclamation points during the three evenings of the storm. The shortages were traced to teachers and students wildly posting, “Snow day!!!!!!!! Yes!!!!!!”
Who can blame them? Facebook reported the exclamation point shortages were brief and that exclamation points have been restored in most areas across Duluth and up the North Shore.
The relatives: During the storm, lots of us grabbed quick smartphone photos of our snowdrifts, stuck cars, bleak traffic scenes, snow-flocked trees and kids dwarfed by piles of snow. We transmitted them instantly to relatives and friends in brown states so they could see (1) how tough we are to live in a place like this, (2) how much we deserve their sympathy and amazement, (3) what they’re missing for having moved away or (4) how nuts we are to put up with this.
Mostly, they sent us replies saying how tough we must be, how amazing the snow is and how much they miss it. None mentioned moving back.
The neighbors: Bless ’em, every one. They did what they do whenever we get a storm that’s bigger than all of us. They marched their hungry snowblowers up and down our sidewalks. They lumbered over in big pickups and plowed out our driveways. They came with kids and shovels and went at it. Because that’s just what we do up here.
And finally, the sheer coolness of it all: Yeah, it’s a pain moving snow. It’s a pain trying to get to work or to mail Christmas presents to the far-flung kin. But at some point in this three-day wallop of white, most of us just stood still for a moment and watched it come and keep coming and keep piling up. Even by our standards in the North, it was a big deal.
We don’t often get the chance to be truly humbled by the force of nature. Let’s face it, on some crazy level, we just love these big snows. They remind us that we’re just little critters crawling about on a big old planet swirling through the heavens, and every once in a while the globe’s force-field stirs up something remarkable.
Now let’s go play in it.