I did it. I wished for this. When it started snowing -- a couple of weeks ago now -- in Boston, I confided to a friend: "I secretly hope it never stops." And it hasn't, and isn't going to anytime soon, from the looks of it.
I have noticed not everyone is happy about this.
If not entirely practical, most folks have a more platonic relationship with the weather. By that, I mean not only that they prefer not to get pounded by it, but that there exists for them an Ideal Day -- 78 and sunny, let's say, with roughly sixteen hours of light -- against which every day of the year is judged, and harshly, especially if you live around here.
But like in Plato's cave, if you fixate on the ideal you kinda miss out on the reality. The truth is, there's only one perfect day, and it's -- you guessed it -- today. Or to put it another way: when life gives you snow, make a snowman. When life gives you five feet of snow over two weeks, get a real man. 'Cause, baby, it's cold outside.
I understand the inconveniences, of course: the shoveling, snowblowing, salting the walks. But I find the total transformation of the landscape after a big storm nothing short of magical, and even two weeks on there is something awesome about this altered landscape. It's that wonder of "the frolic architecture of the snow" that Ralph Waldo Emerson, "enclosed/in a tumultuous privacy of storm" in Concord, Massachusetts, marveled at well before Netflix provided alternative entertainment.
And maybe the ease of alternatives to the sheer wonder of a winter storm is what makes us so impatient to have done with it. Whatever the case, hardly had the first fluffy white flakes announcing Juno's arrival fallen than the caterwauling began, a great rending of garments and gnashing of teeth and a cry to the heavens (via Facebook post, of course) of WHYYYYYY??? followed by "and when will it end?"
We're so used to turning the channel, flipping the switch when we've had enough. Weather is one thing that doesn't respond to the push of a button. And while it used to be something essential to the spirit of a region (as geography and weather have always been), lately it has come to seem not just a nuisance or a bother, as it can be, but an imposition, An insult (of the "how dare they!" variety) a presumption on the part of... who? The cable company? The Weather Channel? HAARP? Where's the number I can call and complain?
I get it. I do. Major storms like Katrina and Sandy have laid waste to our coastlines, claiming lives and livelihoods. 2014 alone saw eight weather disasters with losses over a $1 billion each. The fact that scientists pretty much unanimously agree that extreme weather is due to climate change only heightens the irony of the major lament during epic winter storms: "Dude, where's my car?" In Boston, digging out the car in the current cycle of storms has become so repetitious it's taken on the look and feel of some Sisyphean ritual. Could it be that Mother Nature is trying to tell us: "Dude, I buried those fossil-fuel-spewing beasts for a reason"?
It is, of course, transportation that is most impacted by winter storms like this. But if the whole city must shut down due to weather, why not burrow in and savor the break from the rat race? I would venture not one of us going through this today looks back in anger on the Nor'easter of 2013, which at the time boasted the fifth-highest total snowfall ever recorded in the city, wailing "oh! I could have been at work that day!"
No. If you're anything like me, you bought enough liquor to stock a Russian wedding, cleared out Trader Joe's comfort food section (leave the kale for the amateurs), and hunkered down in your double-snuggy with a blizzard buddy. Turn off the Facebook. Shhh, stop complaining. And we'll look forward to meeting all those baby Junos in October.