We had snow a little more than a week ago. We measured ten inches depth on the table and railings on our back deck and eleven inches on flat surfaces, like the top of the trash bin, in the front yard. In the 27 years we’ve lived here, that is an unprecedented abundance of snow.
Taking a ruler out to the yard to check on the snowfall seems to be a common behavior, maybe even a required ritual in an actual snowstorm. Many people we have spoken with about the snow were out in their yards with rulers and yardsticks, and they found a similar 10-11 inches on most surfaces. Some measured a full 12 inches of snow.
The weight of all that snow broke a lot of branches. We were standing in the road, in the still-falling snow, talking with neighbors who had a large, ragged branch-end poking into their living room, when another branch fell. It dropped very near to where we were standing, dusting us all with even more snow.
Not too surprisingly, we lost electricity after a few hours and didn’t get it back for a couple of days. Our neighborhood is very hilly, and leaving requires driving up more than one steep slope; some people who wanted to leave, to stay at a hotel or with friends in areas that did not lose power, were not able to leave. Their cars couldn’t climb the iced-over roads.
The snow wasn’t all bad, though. We had a great time going for crazy-slippery walks,
talking with neighbors who were all outside because it was darker and colder in their houses. We cooked on the woodstove, “camped” at night in the living room so it was easier to keep the fire going, loaned out a Harry Potter book to a neighbor who suddenly had time to read Book Four, and played card games by candlight in the evenings.
When we were running low on coffee, a neighbor who is Master Roaster for the local Thrasher Coffee Company brought us some already-ground coffee (Thank you, Seth!).
Big, commute-stopping weather events remind me of how lucky we are to live in this neighborhood, where we really know some families and have met and talked with several more.
To be honest, gardening has helped us be a part of this community. Our neighbors know us because we are outside, for at least a little while, on many days.
When they are driving by, they see us; when they are walking their dogs, they stop to visit. They ask about the garden.
In weird times, like snow and ice-storms that lock us into the neighborhood, or when the creek rises enough to cross the road and we are stranded, we are not alone. We are all walking toward where the others are gathered, checking out the damage, pushing stuck cars past the slippery places, looking to see if anything can be done to help.
Gardening has helped this along. It is a great way to live.