December 13th - Why I Really Love New Hampshire...
Something I want to admit. I want to cop to this, confess this to the rest of the world and deal with the repercussions as they come. Folks might think that I might be an elitist and maybe mean spirited, but the fact is nobody reads The Fedora Chronicles for sugar coated blathering and babbling. You come to The Fedora Chronicles for some hard-core unrestrained opinions and commentary written by kind hearted but blunt spirited people wearing fedoras.
So here it is, I really love New Hampshire because of what happens to the area during severe snow storms. I enjoy seeing how people fair depending on how well they're prepared and their basic nature. I like seeing people either stuffer or survive based on their character.
Here, during a horrible storm you're faced with the realities of who you really are. People's real character is revealed; if your a sissy Nancy-Boy then it's going to show by how you react to the slippery road conditions. If you're a man of adventure and action, then you're like me and you're actually happy (or ecstatic) that nature is testing you. Kinda like what Oprah said today in reference to her problems with her South African School; There's no Testament with out a Test.
Granted, I also like the way everything looks after a good snow-covering. Everything's pretty and almost "Cleansed." But, that's just the 'Icing' because things might be intense while the snow's falling, but the recovering the next morning is a challenge while you're trying to get things back to normal or just trying to function while going about your business.
There's also this weird anarchy, you do what you have to do... but there's also this politeness because people have to get a long and help each other out while we can. I like to believe it's that same spirit that existed during The Golden Era. Those days come back briefly during a Winter Storm...
On December 13th, 2007 there was another one of those severe Winter Storms that puts society to the test. It's another such time to find out who you really are, however briefly.
Grassy Pond Road
This is off of one of the roads that I drive on every day. I thought it was just ironic that "Grassy Pond" is frozen and covered with fresh snow.
I'm not the smartest guy in the world. I think I'm smarter then the average dummy, and I can figure out something as simple as a digital camera and Adobe Photoshop. So, Imagine my frustration that I can't make some of these pictures come out to show you the true color of this snow-scape. It's this perfect shade of Blue and Grey, not a steel blue-grey. There's something that occurs naturally during these brief moments, it's almost magic and makes a poet reach for paper and pen. The snow was falling so hard, you couldn't see more then a quarter of a mile ahead. Perfect day for most people to stay home, or venture out because nobody else is...
I also can't capture the sound. Then the snow comes down, there's this ambient, gentle hiss, it's both quiet and deafening.
There are homes near-by, but during a storm like this I feel like I'm the only person around and the issues rattling around in my head vanish and there's this duality of peace and self-assurance that comes over me...
THIS is one of my favorite roads. If it were possible to buy up all the property along this stretch, I would do so just so that I could leave it just the way it is.
There's something so fundamentally wrong with a society that demands that every spot of land HAS to be occupied and developed. I'm not anti-progress, I like having stores and homes where they belong, but areas like this are almost literally out in the middle of nowhere. It's one of the last roads in the area that didn't have Utility Poles, but now that there are homes being built in this somewhat vast territory, the poles are going up...
I also have a few pangs of jealousy, because part of me wishes my home was there in that picture, somewhere...
As I was driving down this road, I heard some noise coming from the back seat. Someone got a hold of the camera... Coppertop Fisk! The first one was taken of me with out knowing what he was up to. The second one was taken after I heard: "Hey, Dad... LOOK!"
The Next Morning, Friday The 14th...
According to many News Outlets in Massachusetts, there were commuters parked on Route 3 for hours. It's the worst snow-storm in ages! It's the Winter Apocalypse, life will never be the same until all this snow is removed, Repent! Repent! The End Draws Neigh!
Here in New Hampshire? Yea! It snowed more then a foot, so lets leave early to go to school and work. We're a hearty bunch here in New Hampshire. The only change in the routine is the time it takes to get somewhere after some brisk cardio-vascular work with a shovel.
How bad was the storm? Most people like to gage it by the accumulated snow fall. Others, like me, like to gage it by how deeply your car, truck or Jeep is buried. Here's "The Render-Wagon" under more then a foot of snow.
The snow fall was actually looked worse then this in other areas, but because of the field around our house the wind picked up and blew the snow out from under parts of the beatle. It took me less then a half hour to unbury it with a plastic shovel and a old broom. Well, I had some help from Coppertop before he went off to school.
The ducks faired pretty well, too. Stuck in their shanty
Looks almost like a Nativity Scene, all we need are the people and the star up on top of the broom handle that I left out there last night.
... Which brings me to Rule Number One in Winter Survival, NEVER leave your shovel outside. I got lucky that I left that shovel propped up. If it was lying down it would have been buried and I could have found it easily by tripping. I've heard of horrible accidents that involved people tripping over shovels and falling on other objects.
Here are just two great early morning shots on a back-road from Rindge to Jaffrey. While the trees are snow covered, the roads are bare and very passable. Despite the hour, there's very little traffic. Today's the perfect day to stay home and tune into Turner Classic Movies or watch one of the classics in your collection with the people you love and some hot chocolate. Alas, we hearty bunch are already at our destinations with the exception of people like me who have this story to tell.
Snow Covered Blueberry Run
One of my favorite trails to hike during Spring, Summer and Autumn. But, have I hiked this trail much during the winter? Not really. I've always wanted to, but it's hard having two kids. But, my youngest is getting used to the cold so, who knows... maybe sometime soon I'll pull them down this trail on a sled.
Severe weather is nothing to worry about, with some very rare exceptions. My commentary about this is pretty obvious, the media likes to hype every large storm as if it's the up-coming natural disaster, something they should never do for ratings. It makes people soft and diminishes the need for attention really bad storms need. Here in the North East, the source of that hysteria goes back to the Blizzard of '78 when it snowed for days and the snow piled up in feet, not just inches. I remember school being closed for those days, and I remember one of our neighbors took a half an hour to walk from her house to ours to tell us she heard that they already canceled school for the next day.
The Blizzard of '78 was the first taste of what a real storm can do and how it can bring people together and force you to recheck your priorities. But it's hard to take Storm Warnings seriously when the local news outlets hype it with dramatic music and dramatic graphics to go with the local school and business closings. It's almost like that old bit: "Asteroid To Strike the Earth at Any Minute and destroy all life on the planet for centuries to come. Full Story at 11, Stay Tuned!"
This would also be a great time though to say a few words about the other side of these situations. Be prepared, have plenty of food and water on hand. Don't stop living your life just because some over-dramatization about a coming storm, but take the threat seriously enough to stay safe and alive while you enjoy the weather.
In the meantime, I'm putting on my snow-shoes and pulling my youngest around the yard while Coppertop follows me around with my camera... have fun!