Norwegian Snow day
I sit at the kitchen table. Long johns, wool high socks, shoes, long turtleneck. Vest. Sweater. I decide to move to the chair nearest the fire. Ah, that is better. The sun streams through the window. It pretends to warm. The sky is bright in the early morning light. The white snow catches the light. Stills it. Freezes it.
The snow squeaks. I walk on the path I shoveled. The snow squeaks like our science teacher’s shoes as he walked up one aisle of desks and down the next, watching exam answers being written. I hear the questions. “What is the weight of snow? What is the molecular structure of snow? How do you measure the insulating effects of snow? Describe heat transfer.”
I don’t have to describe heat transfer. The heat is transferring from my long johned/socked/turtlenecked/vested/sweatered body straight out the sunroom windows. A straight line. No sine waves. The rhododenron doesn’t have to describe the heat transfer. Each big fat leaf is curled up on itself. Nothing for the snow to hang onto and so it has plopped below.
We drove that desolate windswept journey from Philadelphia to Forestville yesterday, racing back from merely 4 degree weather to -4 degree weather. The sky blued. The sun shone. The snow sparkled. The trucks trucked. Trucks…and us. I thought sweet thoughts like “Have the drains frozen? Has the septic tank backed up? Did the pipes freeze to the bathroom? Will we be able to get into the driveway? No. No. No. Yes. A little shoveling, and then into the house.
It needed Norwegian force, the cold of the kitchen did. It needed a big pot of soup on the stove. A new loaf of bread in the oven. A roaring fire in the fireplace. A hot cup of coffee in the hands. A thick sweater on the shoulders. That Norwegian force was not in evidence. I found the warmest room of the house, sat by the register, and tried to forget that I was hungry. Cooking would take me to the COLD kitchen.
I will call up the Norwegian force today. I will start some soup, toast the new bread, poke the roaring fire, pour myself a new cup of coffee. I will rip up the science exam. Trick questions. All of them. We know the answer: snow is the great gift bestowed upon us chosen people east of the lakes. Snow sculpts our true selves, turns our abandoned cars into heroes’ mounds, our walkways into architectural experiments, our roofs into pagodas, our ground into precious crystals. Snow country. Snow belt. Lake effect snow. Snow-shoeing. Snow-skiing. Snow angels. Snow silence. Snow mobiles. Snow tracks. Snow drifts.
On to the Norwegian plan!