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Volume XVII, Issue 52 ~ December 24 - December 30, 2009

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The Gift of Snow

24 fluffy inches can change the world

It could be Margaret Tearman’s White Christmas memoir, this week’s feature story, that brought the snow. Or it could be a gift from the heavens.

Here at Bay Weekly, a month of five Thursdays means five papers to get out. But like you, we’d rather be celebrating Tuba Christmas and visiting illuminations, baking cookies and writing holiday cards, decorating trees and wrapping gifts.

So when the snow started, I was running fast, wishing for more weeks in the month — so long as they didn’t have any more Thursdays — more hours in the day, more cells in my brain and more fingers on my hand.

In my neck of the woods, snow start was about 8pm Friday, December 18. Every 15 minutes or so, I left the fireside to check the accumulation. First a dust. Then a crust, about as thick as the sugar cookies I was rolling out.

By crustfall, the world was changing.

Snow was decorating Chesapeake Country for Christmas, softening the soundscape and whirling in gusts amid dancing branches. Not a thing could be done about it or to stop it.

Nothing to do but let it fall. And with it fell my cares.

Time and its constraints lost their meaning. Clocks went out of fashion. The falling snow, and the rising snow, took over the telling of time.

So instead of fretting, I was baking cookies. In a warm festive home, with an animated fire and sparkling lights, I did not, like contributing writer and climatologist Ricky Rood, “live in BWI airport.” I was cozy, warm, and warm I’d stay as the wind blew the snow from the trees, thus preventing fallen limbs and power outages.

My watch continued through the night, adding satisfying depth to the cold blanket transforming the world. By morning it measured over a foot, and the snow still fell. An occasional plough labored on the two roads near my house, but not a car passed. The mail truck peered down the lane and turned tail.

There might have been places to go, but there was no way to go there.

I would have to do all the things I say I want to do were I not too busy: Cook breakfast, lunch and dinner; Wrap Christmas presents; Talk to faraway friends; Organize my recipes; Bake Christmas cookies; Bake bread; Remember the short story “Silent Snow, Secret Snow;” Remember the wonder I used to get from reading; Read; Make tea; Eat Christmas cookies; Sit by the fire.

Saturday night, about 8:00, the 24-hour snow stopped, having dumped about an inch an hour.

Still the gift continued.

Sunday was a little more strenuous: A walk that made me wish for snowshoes; Shoveling out cars; Wondering whether we should try to go shopping; Deciding we should not.

There’d be time enough for that come Monday.

And so there was, when the snow turned trickster, and our feet and cars and delivery trucks found all the icy places they could slide.

But by then, I’d caught the Christmas spirit. The snow had worked its magic.

Sandra Olivetti Martin

editor and publisher; [email protected]


© COPYRIGHT 2009 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

from the Editor