Friday, February 16, 2007

Crusty Weather

I walked back home from the Metro last night. We had snow this week, mixed with rain and sleet, so the snow pack, although only a couple of inches, is very smooth and icy, particularly since the temperatures have been in the teens, and the wind has been a blustery, cold blanket of howling shivers.

While this scene probably doesn't compare with Minnesota or Oswego, it's pretty cool for Wheaton. The scene by streetlight and houselight is dimpled, icy whiteness. I took off across a couple of front yards (yeah, I was having a seven year-old moment) and felt the slippery ackwardness of my gait, while relishing the off-balanced sense that I could fall and injure my cabeza. I remembered that wonder of childhood and winter: the needle-like cold, the eerie sound of the thick crust cracking, but not breaking beneath my boots. The ice makes an initial loud retort followed by a sigh radiating from the point of impact. Then it's silence for a second, and the the next retort as I walk across the crusted lawn.

I love the awe-full beauty of the moment. Because of the nature of the storm, much of the lawn is undisturbed (it was too cold, and too icy for people to be out and about for a couple of days). I can imagine I'm in an ice-covered meadow, in some magic place having this childhood experience. And I'm discovering it in the midst of eight or ten million people - my own little secret glen, in the dark, on the ice, a hundred steps from my front door, eight miles from the White House, and a world away from DC and the 'burbs.