Snow: The Conspiracy

Our first snow occurred yesterday. Nothing else seems more peaceful than watching the first twirling flakes drift from the sky and fall with the gentleness of a feather. Snow’s white purity changes the terrain, often blanketing the trees, fields, and roads with its blinding beauty. And that, folks, is the deception.

The falling flakes are the ruse. It’s almost like the misdirection in the movie, “Wag the Dog,” but instead of a political motive, snow uses its slight of hand differently; in which someone yells, “Hey, look! It’s snowing!”

While everyone turns their attention to the wonder and beauty of the snowflakes, they’re missing what’s actually occurring. A few falling snowflakes are harmless, and for many, quite enjoyable to watch. But if you’re spending your time watching those artistic, acrobatic snowflakes dancing in the breeze, you’re missing the bigger picture. It’s the millions of them gathering together on the ground, the roads, and even your sidewalks or outside stairs that you should be watching. Little by little, their numbers increase, and the more they group together without you noticing, the more dangerous your isolated world becomes. You should be on high alert, but no, let’s watch the falling snow. It’s so precious. And the next thing you know, they’re building walls around your fortress. They’re creative masterminds setting you up for a bizarre and sometimes deadly obstacle course right outside your front door. If you don’t protect your driveway and sidewalk by shoveling the clumps of white, you’ll soon become immobile and taken hostage by those beautiful flakes.

But what really happens when you use the shovel to scrape the walkway? You can’t get all of the snow with the shovel, so folks resort to adding salt. Salt melts the snow, so you assault the snow. And that might work for a little while, especially if the sun comes to your rescue, but if the sun hides for several days, and the temperatures plummet, snow brings out its alter ego: Ice. You, with your best intentions to make your life easier, have angered snow into becoming an even worse enemy. You might well get around a couple of inches of snow, but an inch of ice makes life even more treacherous. Don’t believe me? Ask the doctors at the ER about the increased number of patients who are treated for injuries after falling in the snow or slipping on the ice as compared to other times of the year.

“No two snowflakes are alike.” You hear that a lot, don’t you? But when there are millions of them piled up, how do you know? Has anyone ever really taken the time to check? And how do you compare the snowflakes on the ground today against the snow that has fallen last week, or last winter, or ten years ago? Who knows? Maybe they’re clones? That could explain how so many parachute from the sky at exactly the same time with their own agenda. Often their invasion is ill timed. You need to get to work or to school. Since the title of this article states, “The Conspiracy,” you might want to study snow’s real motive…

A few snowflakes? No problem. They come and go. Billions of them though, and cars, trucks, and semis pile up on Interstate Highways like an angry child bashing Hot Wheels cars together just for the fun of it. The beauty of snow is stained crimson quite often. It has taken countless victims. So, don’t let the ‘purity’ of white deceive you. Like Santa, snow has a list, too, regardless of naughty or nice, so be careful.

Oh, and snow sports. Those who love the snow the most are those who ski, sled, or the more daring mountain climbers. However, snow is no more friendly to those who treasure it than to those who despise it. Snow blankets the mountainsides as a seductive invitation to entice skiers and sledders to head to the slopes or hillsides, but most cannot see snow’s ulterior motive. After several feet of these innocent flakes joining forces, snow is a master at hiding objects, like rocks, pitfalls, and logs. Yes, many deathtraps lie in wait along those downward paths, or worse, all the little snowflakes piled upon the ridges decide it’s time to do a bit of skiing of their own with what we call an avalanche. Talk about skiing your heart out … Good luck trying to out-move tons of falling snow.

Snow is also responsible for another phenomenon. Ever notice when the weather forecast calls for several inches of snow how suddenly all the milk and bread disappear from the store shelves? There’s no feat of magic here, and I thought this anomaly only occurred in Alabama where I grew up. But no, it happens up here, too. Milk and bread. Poof. Gone! Why? What are you going to make with milk and bread? Why not milk, bread, and eggs? At least you could make French toast. Or boil the eggs to eat later. But it’s always the milk and bread that vanishes from the store. Sometimes the snow never comes, or it ‘misses’ us, and those people are sitting at home hoarding an oversupply of spoiling milk and stale bread. Maybe the weather forecasters are in cahoots with the dairy companies and bread makers. Could happen. “Hey, Charlie, we’re a bit overstocked on the milk. How about some fictitious snow?”

“I’ll get right on that, Bill.”

Reactions to snow forecasts are different based upon the region. When I lived in Alabama, if the weather forecaster ever mentioned an inch of snow, voila! No school. Often it didn’t need to be more than a ‘few flurries’ or one snowflake to have our schools close their doors. We loved those days. But not so, farther North. Nah, we can get a couple of feet of snow and nothing shuts down. Life goes on as normal. Except, we have no bread or milk on the store shelves here, either. Not sure why because we could have easily driven to the store to purchase it.

As I grow older, I view snow differently. I’m more wary, because falling down as a kid or teenager was much easier to recover from than it is since I’ve grown older. I still love to see a good snowfall, but I do it safely from a distance behind the windows. I try not to drive in it, except whenever necessary, not because I fear my driving ability. I fear the other drivers’ careless driving.

For all my life, even in the deeper South, I’ve listened to my parents and friends and teachers talk about how magical a White Christmas is. I’ve yet to understand why, especially if you travel to visit family. I have only seen two, maybe three, Christmases when the snow has fallen. Nothing magical about it to me. The real specialty of the season is visiting family, and I’d much rather do that than shovel snow and throw out my back.

Ya’ll be careful out there.

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