Snow Memories

In the second year of my Masters, I spent the long winter break at my parents’ house in Maine. It was the first time, since they’d packed up all my worldly possessions and theirs and left my childhood home in Pennsylvania to move into what had always been my grandparents’ house, that I had spent an extended time living with my parents in the house in Maine I had always vacationed in as a child. It wasn’t my first winter in Maine — we had come for a few Christmases over the years — but it was my first winter in my parents’ Maine house.

I arrived to a long white two-storey “big house, little house, back house” and a towering white barn already in a world of white, snow undulating across the landscape already when I had arrived. A White Christmas is not such an unusual thing in Maine, especially away from the coast as my parents are.

For the approximately six weeks of my stay, without exaggeration or hyperbole, it literally snowed every second or third day for the duration. Sometimes an inch, sometimes three, sometimes six, sometimes more. Two, three or four times a week for six weeks. As snow slid off the roof, it accumulated right up to the eaves of the barn and above the windowsills of the house. Dad used the front-end loader attachment on his tractor to dig out those piles and redeposit them on the far side of the driveway (behind the silver car in the middle picture above).

By the time I left in early February, the pile was eight feet high and at least twenty feet long. The snow continued. By the time I finished graduate school and Mom and Dad had driven me back to Maine again with a trailer full of my stuff, it was mid-May. The pile was still there, almost a foot high in places, still twenty feet long.

That’s what this February has felt like.

Every three days, more snow.

This time with an added bonus of a rampant and worsening pandemic. On the one hand, it made it somewhat more tolerable to be stuck inside, when I wouldn’t have been going out anyway because of the weather. On the other hand, my apartment is a lot smaller than my parents’ house, and when I really wanted to step away from the desk, go outside, stretch my legs, a change of scenery … there was nowhere to go.

Even on the days in between, when the sky was clear and the sun was shining and I was ready to go outside, there was such record-setting snowfall that city services couldn’t keep up with clearing the sidewalks and the park pathways. I could walk, but the opportunities for getting steps in were limited and either slippery or mushy….

That said, we did get on spectacular sunset walk in Liberty State Park in the snow!

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