Last Saturday was the first substantial snowfall that we’ve had all season. To herald the occasion, I was out of bed by 5AM, shoveling the sidewalk by 5:20 or so, and on the road by 6:30. I would have left much earlier, but you can’t get into the preserves earlier than dawn, and the sun wasn’t due until 7:03, so I took my time.
As things worked out, I should have dawdled a great deal longer.
As an aside, let me say that I can’t help but feel that so much of our lives these days are colored by these various shades of irony, though without the comedic relief. I’m sure I’m not the only one. For example, I write a blog about experiences in nature, deep thoughts while sitting around and all that good stuff…yet I have to drive 8 to 10 miles to actually get out to these woods. I sit in my car so I can go sit in the woods. swell. And then there’s the fact that the forest preserve “closes” at dusk, and “opens” at dawn? I understand the reasoning behind this, and it makes sense; but is there not an irony in the fact that I have to observe visiting hours in order to spend time in the natural spaces that I seek?
Anyways, I hurried out the door and was on the road, unplowed, which felt all adventurous, and I was dead set on being the first one out at Bemis Woods. You know, to beat out the throngs of naturegoers lining up to go wander around at 7AM on a Saturday morning. Well, I get to the place, and right as I’m pulling up I see the snowplow man closing the ‘closed’ chain behind him and heading up the way. I was a little early, so I felt okay about things at this point and figured I’d just drive around for a bit until he got things tidied up.
An hour later, after driving up and down through dark and slowly waking neighborhoods, peering in the windows of unwary Americans – the man sitting alone at his dining room table, the woman at her desk in an office with floor to ceiling bookshelves that I now covet, a couple people here and there shoveling the walk – the snowplow dude is STILL not finished. Another irony, I guess – to get up early in the morning so as to enjoy the sun slowly filling the spaces and lines of a snowy woods, only to spend my morning driving around looking in people’s windows.
And to top it all off, I had to stop and get gas.
Around 8:00 o’clock I phoned home and the family was roused and willing to come out with me. So, I returned from whence I came, was nearly killed by another snowplow that threw a blinding sheet of slush and salt onto my windshield as I was passing, had an Eggo, a cup of coffee, and piled everyone in the car to go back and check out the scenery.
Snowplow dude was just leaving when we arrived.
All in all, when it was all said and done, it was a good time and time well spent. I got some pretty good pictures, and the kids had a lot of fun before their toes started to freeze. I also had the chance to see where a vole or some other rodent had been tunneling under the snow, which was pretty cool being that I’ve been reading up and getting all lerned on winter ecology this past season.
So there you go.