We are buried alive!
In less than eighteen hours over thirty inches of heavy snow have fallen onto Crested Butte from a very pregnant sky. When I opened the second story deck door this morning the snow lunged at my legs hugging them up to my knees. It pressed against me like it wanted to come into the house. In fact, it's pressing against all of our first story windows like a hungry mob. It feels predatory and creepy, like "The Blob" or The Fog" or "The Swarm" -- horror flick kind of stuff.
More snow is being delivered all day and into the night.
With so much snow there's no definition on our street -- can't tell our driveway or our road from the half story high mounds of previously plowed snow. Everything blends together -- the trees, cars, houses -- all fat and fluffy in the flat light. It's so flat if you try to step out into it you don't know how to brace yourself for how deep down you're going to sink.
And it's blinding -- so blinding you need to wear sunglasses just to eke out some faint, weak distinction of depth and distance.
Our jagged mountains are filled in like they were injected with Botox. Their rugged crags, their contrast and definition, are full and fat and flat and, camouflaged, blend in with the constant, dizzying swirl of fat flakes falling and falling and falling, softly, silently, falling.
The fences have disappeared.
The only sign of life on this eerie still morning was a puff of snow that came out from somewhere down the street. Then came another puff and another -- a locomotive coughing to life somewhere under all this stuff.
A red jacket emerged through the veil of white. It was some guy trying to dig his car out. At least I think it was a car he was working on. Might have been his house. In about twenty minutes I'll be like that guy huffing and puffing and spouting all that snow up into the air, making like a whale clearing its blowhole.
I don't feel like putting on my layers and Sorrels and raking the roof with an unwieldy fourteen-foot shovel to trigger avalanches of snow onto the decks already groaning with the weight of it, digging into the decks and carving walkways out of the house and exhuming our car.
And the snow is just wet enough that shoveling it, one small scoop at a time, is like sliding a spoonful of ice cream into your mouth, smoothing some off with your lips and the rest, impolitely, staying on the spoon. The snow, when it's lost its airness, clings to the shovel like ice cream. It's double-dipper work.
What a drag when you're surveying this deep white sea and knowing you have to go out there and put your back into it hard to begin to part it only to watch it cave back into itself like a sand castle melting back into a wet beach after a wave.
Even though we get our driveway plowed by some guy puffing weed who comes as reliably as some guy puffing weed and on a Powdah Day, the rest is hand dug. And guess who gets to it do all by herself and not getting any younger after eighteen winters?
Anyway, I need a young guy to come over and shovel all this stuff. The only problem is it's a Powdah Day! All the residents who haven't had seven knee operations (like me) or are already on crutches or in arm slings, drop everything -- jobs, shoveling, even a wife in labor. I mean every blessed thing to wade through buried streets and over buried cars with sticks and poles on their backs to the buses that take you up to the ski area if they've got any drivers still running them 'cause it's a Powdah Day!
They trudge en masse as if to Mecca a couple miles up to The Mountain, just to press in lines against the ropes hours before the lifts open to the North Face in order to be the first to surf the vast virginal deeps of the extremes all day.
On a Powdah Day there is no tomorrow. We ski with impunity.
We used to have a Swiss snow blower with a husky-varney-something name. We lent it to my husband's son several years ago and never got it back. He lost it somehow. It disappeared into that black hole -- that nameless place where things go and never return like half a pair of socks in the dryer. Yes, big things -- like snow blowers, snowmobiles, trucks, even people, disappear here in the mountains like little things do in the dryer.
I know I have to get out there and do the digging while the snow's still light with some air in it. And add my puffs to the other puffs of snow blooming all over the neighborhood now. Like steam rising in clouds above sewer covers in the city on a frigid day. And do it quickly. The moment the temperature goes up the airy snow will go flat as a tire and condense into cement snow, which is ten times harder to heft and heave.
But I don't wanna. I want to dive down under my deep down blanket and dream of warm sand and beaches and of all the sand castles I won't bother building.
* * *
Just got back from being out there. I'm sweaty and heavy with sodden layers and icicles hanging from my hair.
The first thing I did when stepping off our front porch to make a path to the car was do a face plant into four-foot deep snow. Every time I struggled to get up my arms and legs plunged down into the white nothingness. It was as futile as struggling in quicksand. The harder I tried to get up the deeper down I went.
When, somehow, I managed to dog paddle horizontally onto my feet -- feet stuck deep in the snow like fence posts -- I got my bearings and, squinting, saw the town plow had plowed a six-foot berm into our driveway and over the back of our submerged car.
After ten minutes of digging my way eight feet out to the car, I grabbed the door handle, which thankfully was above the snow line, only to find it frozen shut. After finally coaxing it open I still couldn't get into the car to warm it up and get out the snow scraper because the door was blocked by snow -- snow already heavy as wet sand. Only yards from the front porch and I was whipped.
Needless to say, I shoveled and raked and swept and dug that car out just in time to slam it into low gear and back it over a two foot berm and out of the driveway for the snow plow guy, who arrived at that very moment, to dig out our driveway. And I tunneled paths and shoveled the deck and tried, without success, to rake the snow off the roof while the plow guy was here. So the mess it would cause could be plowed by him before he finished. Not much came down. It was iced onto the roof and wouldn't budge.
I was done in. I shook myself off outside the house before kicking off my boots and shedding frozen snow pants, jacket, gloves and hat onto the mud room floor -- where they landed standing up. And I wheezed myself, legs trembling from the effort, upstairs to sink once again -- not into the snow this time but into the white warm down of my bed before I relax in our steam shower.
You know when you try to get your dog to shake off the snow or rain or mud or whatever outside before she comes into the house and she simply won't? Like mine? And the minute she's inside she shakes the stuff off her like those hairy spinning rollers in a car wash and it sprays all over the place in one big huge hairy sneeze.
Like our dog, the house just shuddered and shook off huge masses of roof ice and hard snow onto the pristine driveway and thundered down its valleys burying, once again, our deck and walkways with giant chunks of crud.
Well, all's I can say is to hell with it. I'm headed for Mecca.