Book of Marvels
Monday, October 23, 2006
October Snow

Not just snow, but all sorts of extreme precipitation-- snow and then hail and then pounding rain and then snow again and then hail again. I was making my way to my car with an armload of drycleaning when the latter hail hit. It was like thousands of people shooting at me with little white BBs.

Snow in October makes me anxious (as it does the guys holding up my bird bath-- look at them scowl). The last time it snowed significantly in October was about eight years ago. It was a disaster.

It started much more decorously than today's snow. My husband and I were having lunch in a restaurant, bending into our hamburgers or whatever. And someone said, "Look!" Outside, the most astounding snow was falling-- huge things that couldn't really be called flakes. More like a battalion of flying saucers. Or large, slow-moving magnolia blossoms from a cosmic tree. Or billions of little white umbrellas turned upside down. The snow looked like all sorts of things other than snow, and it was already weird enough to get snow in October. Even in Cleveland.

The magnolia-blossom snow turned into heavier, faster snow and it kept falling, falling, falling for hours. And since it was only October and all the leaves were still on the trees, the snow stuck to the branches-- until they all started snapping and crashing to the ground. We lost a bridal veil shrub and a couple of lilacs; the weight of the snow just ripped them apart. But whole trees split and fell elsewhere, yanking down power lines all over town. We didn't have it so badly at my house, where the power was off for about a day. We made a big fire in the fireplace and put mattresses on the floor and read by candlelight-- it reminded us of a fun camping trip a few years earlier. The people whose power was off for four or five days didn't have as much fun.

So when it snows early like this, I go outside with an old hockey stick and bat the snow off the Japanese maple by the front door. And I get a little more nervous about the weather, the world, even the war-- you know how all those concerns can play off each other. Posted by Picasa
Yes, I agree. When the weather's unseasonable, the world seems all wrong. It's like that in Shakespeare -- I think it's A Midsummer Night's Dream where there's weird weather and it's because the fairies are fighting. (Don't hold me to that!) I loved this description of the snow in that storm -- the magnolia blossoms, the upside down umbrellas. Here, on Sunday we had that hot, hot wind -- the one that says it's about to burst into flames and burn down neighborhoods. It seems to have passed for now. Hope the trees make it. They should. You, after all, are armed with a hockey stick.
Ah bloglily-- I'm headed out to your part of the country again, tomorrow morning. You're making me rethink what's in my suitcase.

Certainly, the notion of fairies fighting is far better than global warming! I'll have to suggest that to myself every time I fret about October snow.
The hot wind is over. Now it's the normal fog in the morning, burning off in the afternoon. Have a lovely trip. (If you have time, the Gee's Bend quilt exhibit at the De Young is amazing, particularly the film/oral history of the quilters.)
We didn't get this much snow on the other side of town, but I was bummed anyway.
I love your birdbath!
Kristin, I absolutely love your ending. You make the connection between "the weather, the world [and} even the war" flow so naturally, rather than heavy-handed.
Hi Helen and Lucette.

I'm too weary from being hot in my Ohio clothes in very warm Santa Rosa to say more!
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