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Walking In The Madison Blizzard

February 1, 2011

As soon as the late local weather on television was over I was gearing up for the adventure I had planned all day.  Dragging James into my plans, and having him smile through it all, let me know that I must be important to him.  Who else would have willingly joined me for a walk in the blizzard that was bearing down on Wisconsin?  That he enjoyed it too was nice to see.

This was not the first wild storm that I needed to feel hit my face and chill my body.  It will not be the last.

I can honestly say that I do not ever recall the visibility being so reduced by a storm as the one that struck Madison tonight.  James said that at times there was no more than a couple hundred feet visibility down the streets we walked.  And this was on the Madison isthmus! 

One can only image what it must be like in the rural areas tonight.  It all reminds me of why those stories from history that I love so well about ropes being strung from a barn to a house so not to get lost in the weather was no joke.

There is a majesty to the quiet in the city when no one dare venture out in a car.  When no one is out and being loud.  The quiet of the snow seems somehow more intense when it is dark outside.  The winds that howled and burst with energy around cars and houses and up the alleys created by close proximity of  buildings made for what amounted to a thrill ride taken on foot.   My breath could be taken away by the cold sharp burst of the unseen gust, and the coating of snow that came with it seeped even down the inside of my coat.  Who cared?  Onwards!

Walking along tonight I noted that one house with children was silent and dark.  It was as if they did not know the city was closed down on Wednesday and kids should be allowed to be up.  I think the kids should have been able to be out for a while in the midst of the magic that comes in such a power-packed way.  And especially since the ferocity of such a storm as this one is seldom seen.

Maybe that is the difference between being a guy who grew up in the country versus being a child of the city.  Weather is one of the joys that is free to embrace and sense.  It is wild and unable to be tamed.  It shapes us, and makes us conform to it.  It proves what is powerful versus those who think they are powerful.  It makes us the size we really are in the scope of things.

Plainly put the blizzard was awesome!

At age 48 I have lost none of what made me smile when I was a small boy.   Walking with the sting of snow and wind at my face made me aware that the real joys of life are the ones that remain always with us.   

May I never see a snow storm that can not be walked in late at night.

  1. Marion permalink
    February 3, 2011 1:02 PM

    Did the elderly lady feel a need to go out and drive in your storm? We got 9 inches from this storm. Not much and we could still see the road out front.

  2. Christine permalink
    February 2, 2011 7:15 PM

    I totally would have gone with you guys! 😉 One of my favorite childhood memories is from the blizzard in the winter of 78-79 when we had a snow day. My Mom, brother and I walked down to Hilldale to get milk (in a carton) and an apple pie. When I was grown I asked Mom why we needed milk and an apple pie badly enough to walk 5-6 blocks through 10 feet of snow (or whatever it was) to get it, and she said we didn’t, she was just trying to keep us entertained ’cause we were going stir crazy. I actually think that improved the memory….

  3. Geno permalink
    February 2, 2011 10:29 AM

    In the late-70s/early 80s … when we lived in what’s now known as Fitchburg … During and after the worst snowstorms, we’d cross-country ski down some railroad tracks, and directly into the Arboretum. Favorite memories.

  4. Paulette permalink
    February 2, 2011 10:07 AM

    Thanks for this excellent essay! This is an amazing blizzard.

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