January ushered in winter’s cold wet blast along the East Coast this past weekend. A few flakes had flirted with us earlier in the week with little accumulation, followed by an icy plunge midweek that left motorists stranded for hours along the Washington Beltway. So with the forecast for an impending blizzard, preparations began in earnest to be in place and stay put for the duration.
As promised, flurries arrived by early Friday afternoon with little let-up until early Sunday. It was one for the record books with comparisons being made to storms in 2010, 1997 or 1978; personal accounts are as prolific as the snow, so there’s no need to repeat them here other than to graphically depict our evolving experience as viewed outside my window.
For my family, it was deja vu of so many January storms before, including a first we experienced in our new home before our eldest son’s arrival in January 1987 and we used the toboggan to tamp down a trail to ease the climb up our hill so we could more easily haul our groceries. Similar storms in 1995 and 2010 piled layer upon layer of snow until we wondered if we’d ever see green grass again.
Gus the Beagle knows that the more layers of snow, the better the sledding and workout. How much of a workout? Well, an hour of sledding and walking back uphill might work off one of Starbucks’ chocolate chunk cookies. Consider as well the estimate that “shoveling snow burns about 223 calories per 30 minutes of activity,” according to Harvard Medical School’s “Calories Burned…” chart while the Farmers’ Almanac reports “30 minutes of scraping ice from windshields or other surfaces can eat up over 100 calories.” Workout aside, the fun of simply being together as a family enjoying any of these activities is far and away the most satisfying part of a snowstorm for me.
Gus still enjoys romping through the winter, although as his health declines his ability to keep up is diminishing. Nonetheless, he was anxious to join us this one last storm as he supervised us on Sunday and Monday enjoying our share of sledding, shoveling and scrapping and giving us one more round of memories to recall for snowstorms to come.
“I love snow for the same reason I love Christmas: It brings people together while time stands still. Cozy couples lazily meandered the streets and children trudged sleds and chased snowballs. No one seemed to be in a rush to experience anything other than the glory of the day, with each other, whenever and however it happened.” ― Rachel Cohn,