This is the protected south face of the house

Well, we’re officially snowed in. By which I mean that we cannot leave our driveway. We can get to the end of the driveway, because we shoveled four times yesterday (the ridge along the driveway is almost sled-able), but beyond that, our vehicles do not have the clearance. And unlike places north, where cities know how to handle this much snow, my little off-the-main-road loop of the subdivision will, in all likelihood, not see a snowplow until sometime on Friday—if we’re lucky.

There’s nothing like Bob the Builder, bickering nonverbal kids, and not leaving the premises for 36 hours (and counting) to deaden the brain to any thought of profundity. So today I am going to share a blizzard story.

I went to grad school in northern Iowa, closer to Minnesota than to Missouri—a place where the words “blowing snow” are a regular part of the winter forecast, and where you don’t see the ground from November to April. My first year I had a wholly miserable roommate experience. I went there to cook, sleep and shower. Otherwise I hung out at the music building. The thought of being locked into the apartment, where I had absolutely nothing to do (I didn’t own a TV, much less a computer) was pretty horrifying. Anyway, I figured, this is Iowa, they know how to handle snow. So that Sunday morning, with the blizzard raging outside, I bundled up and walked to Russell Hall to practice before Mass.

It was the hardest walk I’ve ever taken, but the novelty of having to push through drifts up to my ribcage made it actually pretty fun. I lived most of a mile from central campus, and there was a lovely walking path that led through lawns and over a creek and eventually crossed beneath the main road.

The wind was screaming in my face, and I could barely see where I was going. I wasn’t really sure I was on the trail, frankly, but I could see the strip of trees off to my right, and using landmarks, I managed to get to campus without incident. I arrived at the music building and found it…locked.

I couldn’t believe it. I stood under the awning, out of the blowing snow, and finally decided that I had made it this far, there was no sense in turning back. I might as well see if St. Stephen’s was open.

From that point, things got better, because campus facilities was already hard at work, trying to get campus plowed in time for classes on Monday. So I didn’t have to brave any more drifts—just the stinging blowing snow.

The church was open, of course. I stepped into the warmth and started unwrapping my layers, which were crusted with heavy wet snow. My eyes felt weird. A little exploration revealed that I had ice crusted on my eyelashes.

Mass was suitably sparse—but I wasn’t the only one to come out. And afterward, someone took pity on me and gave me a ride home. That night, I called my parents to share my excitement. My dad yelled at me. “When there’s a blizzard, you stay in,” he said. “People get lost in blizzards! You could have died!”

Ah, well. It was nice while it lasted. 🙂

Our sidewalk at 9p.m. Feb. 1st