Thursday, March 4, 2010
The snow was back yesterday, although I hardly noticed.
We've just had a baby boy and the last three days have been a half waking, half sleeping netherworld of nocturnal nurses' visits, feedings and alarming stops at 7-Eleven at 2 a.m. to see the winos gazing in wonder at the ageing cooked goods.
We probably isn't the right word here. Nikki endured the last two months of pressure and pain, was transformed into a human pin cushion of wires, gainfully gave birth and now gets sleep in 20 minute increments in between feedings, if she's lucky.
I can only look on in awe from the sidelines, trapped in an abstract world of admiration and befuddlement. I am like Iggy Pop's passenger, riding through the city's backsides looking at the full moon under the bright and hollow sky that Jackson was born under.
I am relegated to ancilliary tasks, skirting around the edges of the action, which is the best place to be.
That's when I first noticed the snow. On Tuesday night after we brought him home, I realized I had left a jar of formula in the car.
By the time I ventured outside heavy duty sleet was driving across the parking lot. Within half an hour the cars and grass were coated white.
It was pretty but snow has long since ceased to be a novelty around these parts. When we had our first snowfall in January we cleared a large section on the front page, ordered an extra shift and ran my online snow updates, which said little new apart from the fact that more snow was falling, every hour.
The schools closed for three days. Even though there was hardly a ghost of the white stuff left on roads for the last two of them, Hampton Roads had to prove it couldn't cope with more than four inches.
It also snowed for the next two Saturdays. The snow was soon relegated from the front to the back of the paper. It became commonplace, boring and somewhat seedy.
Even two weeks after the big snowfall you could see it hanging around at times at the sides of parking lots, like an unwelcome guest at a party, now black, stained and swept into corners so as passers-by could throw cigarette butts in it.
And now, in March, snow in southern Virginia is nothing short of ridiculous.
So the snow hasn't interested me much. Even my daughter seldom remarks on it now, although there was one chilly night when I gave in to her and went outside to make inconsequential snow balls and went through the motions of making snow angels.
And there was one day on the way down to North Carolina when I stopped by the Dismal Swamp Canal to walk through the crisp new snow and to wonder at the fresh crispy whiteness of a world in which the sun cast the shadows of the trees on the glittering crystals covering the grass.
Before I got back in my car and left it all behind.