I live in Alaska. That means snow. Snow piles up everywhere. As days go by it gets deeper and deeper and deeper. It may appear to be an innocuous pure and fluffy substance, but this is FAR from the case. Snow has a sinister side. It seeks to ensnare. It makes the roads treacherous, and in my case, the driveway as well. It causes me to appear incompetent when I want to make a speedy exit from the house. My car no longer obeys my commands to glide in a straight line down the hill. Instead it opts to run, without fail, into a snow bank, forcing me to plead for help in order to leave the premises. Fortunately the neighbors have now allowed me to park at a lower level, meaning I have a longer walk in which to attract the attention of moose. If you've ever seen Rocky and Bullwinkle, allow me to inform you that the moose caricature is a correct one. Moose aren't bright. They are large, and dim witted, and prone to gore with little provocation. Do you begin to see now the treachery that is snow?
The longer I remain here, the more I begin to make sense of the fact that Eskimos have about a bazillion different words for the icy white substance that comes from the sky. Now, a variety of names for rain have always made sense to someone like myself who has spent a considerable quantity of time in Oregon, but until now I've been able to classify snow as either big or little flakes. Here I have seen snow in an endless assortment of varieties. Sometimes the flakes are so small you can scarcely see more than a sparkle in the air. Given an hour or two, however, the depth of white on the ground has miraculously grown deeper. Then there are those days when fluffy flakes float down like cotton, light and airy and capable of being easily blown off of any surface. I could go on and on in such a manner, but no doubt it would cease to be entertaining after the billionth variety, so I'll leave it at that. Needless to say, it snows here A LOT. And that snow piles up rapidly.
Yesterday I decided to make a dent in the snow that had decided to cover the back deck. As I began to shovel I was amazed by the strata of the snow. All those layers of different types of flakes could be seen, and wanted to break into segments as I shoveled. I spent over an hour working on clearing off the upper level of the deck. To further make my point that snow is not all friendly and innocent, my back and arms are soooo sore today you wouldn't even believe it.
So, for all of you out there who think that snow is sweet and innocent, or that half an inch of snow that melts off in half a day is worth canceling school over, let me inform you now that you are mistaken.