For what seems like the thousandth time this winter, we have snow. Lots of snow– well, lots of snow for this part of Michigan, but probably not much by UP or Buffalo, NY standards. So I am home with Will, also home from school. We are about to go shoveling, but for some reason, I am thinking back many years ago to a less significant snow day.
In 1988, after I had graduated from the University of Iowa, I moved to Richmond, Virginia to start the MFA program in creative writing at Virginia Commonwealth University. For the first time, I was living far from the midwest and alone in a pretty sketchy part of town near campus. My apartment was on Franklin on the first floor and in the back, right on the alley. I don’t know what it’s like there now, but at the time, that was a really good spot to find drunks and bums if you were looking. I used to hear them back there all the time. My apartment consisted of one main room, a kitchen, and a bathroom, all laid out in a row. My typical way of getting the day started was I would stumble out of bed, go through the kitchen, and into the bathroom to look out the window at something that wasn’t the alley before doing my business and getting in the shower.
One day in late November or early December, I got up, did my usual walk, and when I opened the window, I saw snow flakes. Just flurries, but big and giant white flakes. And, I don’t know, I had a moment of real home sickness and missing the chill of Iowa and the real snowfall we would have had there by now. Anyway, I closed the window and went through my usual routine, and by the time I looked out the window again, the snow had stopped. I started the coffee and while it was making, I turned on the radio to hear some semi-hysterical disk jokey going off about the snow, about being “real careful” out there, etc. What weather babies, and most of my time in Richmond just confirmed that impression.
Anyway, I don’t know what this has to do with much more than a few flakes of snow right now or not, but it’s what came to mind. And now to the shovels….