Tuesday, March 23, 2010


It was quick, this springtime storm, lulling us with heavy, sleepy clouds that rolled down out of the northwestern mountains, bringing with them a soft patter of afternoon rain, which barely dusted the slowly greening grass. The thunder pulled the thick wet smell of earth out of the ground and as I left work I didn't know if I should believe the reports of the impending blizzard headed our way.

Thirty-nine minutes later as I pulled into my parking space, Duncan standing on the windowsill three stories above watching me gather my things and scurry inside, nearly three inches had fallen and the world was a complete whiteout. The last time I'd seen that much snow fall so quickly had been almost exactly a year earlier when we'd first moved to this apartment. My windows were quickly freezing over but it didn't matter, there was not much to look out upon. Brady's apartment, not one hundred feet away, was obscured completely from view, erased by a sheet of undulating, swirling white. Winnie sat atop a bookshelf watching her brother bat at the large white flakes as they swept past the screen outside. Cars slipped and slid through the lot below, the snow breaking loudly beneath their tires, a sound barely heard over the wall-shaking wind.

Duncan, like me, has his habits, and the most important one is his immediate need upon my arrival to go outside to tend to business. I changed clothes, donned my heavy coat, a hoodie under that, a cap, and my big boots. He pranced in the door while we leashed up, and then pulled me down the stairs and into the storm. I took him to the side of the building where the wind was weakest, but still fierce, and watched him charge circles among the trees that grow amid the natural bowl in the earth.

I huddled under a tree, my glasses, silly and useless on my face, collecting water which dripped down my cheeks. Duncan spun circles, dove head first, snapped at the flakes, barked at the sky, but did not tend to the task at hand. So after twenty miserable minutes of begging, of shaking the green doggy bag in his face even as I shook the snow and ice from mine, I gave up and brought him inside, where we dried off with the thick white towels I keep in the linen closet for exactly this sort of occasion.

After we were dry and a pot of tea was coming to a boil on the stove, Duncan and I stood in the window looking out over the golf course and the narrow creek which runs between it and The Run. In the moments between rattling gusts of wind, when it seemed we were alone with only our breathing and the ticking of the clock in the bedroom, a brief but vast silence claimed the apartment, and it seemed as if the world had come to a standstill, waiting. And then, with the next gust and rattle, we were reminded that here, at this time of year, there is no such thing. We are reminded often. And suddenly.

1 comment:

Sam said...

Beautiful description - it sounds cold and lovely at the same time. The only thing we have to compare with it here are our monsoons in the summer, which are preceded by heavy dust and wind then thunder, lightning, and heavy rain. Stay warm!