It began gently before sunrise on Saturday morning, a cold, steady flow of fine flakes—the season’s first snow. I let Freya out to do her business and bark at the deer foraging in the forest. At daylight, she came back looking like an Iditarod sled-race dog, her fur covered with snow. Heathcliff went out next. He didn’t stay long.
We don’t always get our first snow in December, though that’s the average date. This year, higher elevations of the Blue Ridge Mountains received more than just flurries in October, before Halloween. Other years, we don’t see snow until after the New Year. But here at Vanaprastha, we’re right on schedule, according to forecasters.
Before the storm, we prepared for what might come. Keith split firewood for both woodstoves, and I ran errands—buying groceries, gassing the car, dropping the trash at the transfer station, and the like—so we wouldn’t need to go out. And we didn’t. Instead, we read, put up the Christmas tree, and enjoyed the loud silence of snow falling outside our windows.
Sunday morning dawned mostly clear and bright. Snow began to recede across the Rockfish Valley. Yet local headlines reported refrozen, icy roads and over 200 storm-related accidents in the Charlottesville area. We decided to stay home another day so as not to jeopardize those who needed to be out—indispensible emergency personnel, hospital staff, and VDOT (Virginia Department of Transportation) workers—and not to require their services by sliding off the road.
Keith fired up the woodstove on the main floor, and I fired up the bread machine for ham and cheese sandwiches, Sunday brunch. Later, after sun and warmer temperatures melted some of the snow and ice, Heathcliff and I walked down the mountain road to retrieve Saturday’s mail. Though easy to dodge on foot, long stretches of tire-packed ice lingered in shaded areas.
This week, Keith and I plan to keep our commitments; one of us (or both) has at least one scheduled event each day. Not that we couldn’t cancel; we are not indispensable. And even if we think we are, it’s good to keep in mind the old saying: graveyards are full of indispensable people.
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