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Snow in the Desert

Article by: Coletta Daniel
 

It's not often anymore, in the busy noise of the world, that I get a quietness of mind that allows me to dwell on matters, and wonder about life in general. This morning, however, as I was standing at the kitchen sink, glancing out the window, I allowed myself one of those quiet moments to contemplate a rare vision that lay before me. Snow in the Desert.

Now, mind you, I've lived in snow. When my home was in Colorado, thirty (or so) years ago, there was not much unusual about three to six feet of snow, and sub-zero temps cold enough to freeze the hairs in ones nose. Life went on. It was time to slip into your long-johns, your several layers of wool clothing, and your snowshoes. Some days required that chains be put on the tires to your vehicle which is no big deal. In snow country most people learn to put chains on when they learned to drive.

There is, of course a little bit of extra work involved during the snow season. Shoveling snow is all a part of the beauty of living in a winter wonderland. People must, after all, be able to get from the front door to the driveway, or the street. Often times when company was expected it was necessary to take extra care when shoveling the front walkway. Aunt Alice often arrived for Holiday festivities having already "padded her nerves", as she said, with a few (or more) spiked Eggnogs. Thus, extra care was given to the front walkway to assure that any slipping incidents were not the fault of the household snow shoveler (me) nor the source of Aunt Alices "hospital horror stories" for years to come.

Whether it is to go out to the barn to feed the cows, or to head down the road(roads usually cleared by city or state Snowplows then rock-salted to keep ice from forming) to whatever your place of employment is.... Life goes on. People in snow country do just about everything in the winter that they do in the summer. The difference might be that they do it with more clothes on.

There are some minor nuisances during VERY heavy weather. There are power outages. It's just one more thing that snow people are prepared for just as if it were second nature for them to do things in the DARK...and to survive without watching TV or listening to the stereo. I'm just kidding of course...Snow people are prepared with Kerosene Lamps, Candles, and Battery and/or Generator operated lighting. As for entertainment? I've known them to read, play cards, sleep, and/or conversate. So, life DOES go on without electricity. The question remaining : Would we WANT it to? :-)

Don't get me wrong, there are some wonderful things to do in the snow. There is sledding, snowboarding, skiing, ice skating, or a good ole fashioned Snowball Fight! And what about a "White Christmas"? Doesn't everybody think of SNOW when considering Christmas? I DO believe Santa Claus looks forward to snow at Christmas time...after all, from his Red Santa Suit, to his Black Snow boots, to the Beard to keep his face warm..he dresses for it!

So now, here I was, looking out the window at what must have been an inch and a half of quickly melting snow. It had actually been snowing on and off for two days. The snow would fall, then melt, then repeat itself. Realizing that it has been MANY years since I've lived in snow country I still had to laugh at my self over my own response to a very little snow blizzard.

When I first discovered the snow it was about five-thirty in the AM...and...as it should be at any sane household on a Saturday morning...everyone was still sound asleep. Not for LONG though! Upon my figuring out what that white substance was that was covering everything outside my front door....I went around the house poking everyone excitedly and telling them that SOMEBODY (Not ME of course.... it was too COLD out there!) needed to get out there and take some pictures for me. When I think back on it...I probably DID appear to have "lost my mind", as accused of at a saner time, sometime later in the day.

One thing that really struck me as strange, and it wasn't only ME being strange this time, is the way that everything seemed to STOP during the snow storm (if it can be called that). It seemed that nobody went anywhere. People stayed in their homes, perhaps to snuggle by the fire (if they have a fireplace..which isn't a MUST HAVE here in the desert), together cozily against the storm....or just because they were a bit terrified about driving in such unfamiliar conditions. Speaking of driving...there were even some road closures due to the small bit of weather we had. I suppose whomever makes those types of decisions felt that there are too few experienced snow drivers to take a risk in two inches of slushy snow...especially since it is doubtful that many of the good desert folks around here keep snow chains in their trunks or garages. And now, speaking of Snow Chains: Believe it or NOT I heard a commercial on the radio: one of the Auto Supply Stores has Snow Chains on sale. You have to admit...That IS funny! Would you go purchase some snow chains due to the fact that it snowed an inch or two...for a day or two...every year or two? I wouldn't, but I just bet that someone WILL!

Yesterday the power went out and the phones went down. I was proud of myself as I did have some candles handy just in case of something like this( or so my story goes :-). I have no Kerosene Lamps but I did come up with two flashlights. By the time I had everything lit and in order the power went back on. All I can remember thinking was "Oh Thank you God!" because I swear I don't know WHAT I would do without my TV and/or my Computer! I was very happy that I wasn't going to be left to figure out something to DO for entertainment for myself...and possibly others too.

As I look out the window now, I see that the snow is almost gone. The desert sun has melted it into the barren dirt surface. The badly needed moisture will likely put to sprouting and blooming some beautiful desert wildflowers. For now though, It's making MUD.

Snow in the desert sure is pretty....But I think I prefer it WHERE and WHEN it is expected. Keep it in the high country, or in cowboy country like Colorado. Keep it up on that peak that I can also see from my kitchen window. Maybe some day I will pull my long-johns out of storage, put them on, and go VISIT the snow. I'm not sure I like it when the snow visits me....Not here....in the Desert.

 
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