9 December 2005

Scenes From a Snowfall

Posted in Life at 1:45 AM by Greg

I love it when it snows at night. The night suddenly becomes twice as bright, and everything takes on a certain yellowish tint from the reflection of all the streetlights. Small sounds — the crunching footsteps of the pedestrian across the street — carry for remarkable distances, but the cars glide noiselessly by on the streets at 15 or 20 miles per hour as if their chugging engines have been replaced by battery-powered motors. Walkers make slow progress along the sidewalks.

The 48-hour snow forecast shows a great yellow blob centered right on the city; the accumulation began shortly after 7:00 this evening. I had to go out, by bus, a bit after 10:00, by which point roads, sidewalks, parked cars, and rooftops had all been evenly coated with about two inches. The world felt like one of those no-echo rooms filled with foam cones. I elected to walk back home, close to 1 a.m., and my route took me though dormitories on the north edge of campus. Snowmen were on display in front of two houses. A sliding contest was being conducted on one side of the street, while on the other a seperate group sent a bombardment of snowballs at a thrid-floor window. Sounds of merriment from the buildings further back could be heard. Half a mile further on, two figures ran and slid in the car tracks left in the road. A few blocks later, a point of light flashed near an apartment building from a camera pointed up at it by one of the tenants.

My street was a silent stretch of flat space, bordered on either side by a row of white lumps and surmounted by converging lines of yellow lights. When I arrived at my door, I took off my gloves and shoveled the front steps. The scraping echoed off the businesses at the end of the road.

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