Thursday, February 17, 2011

Winter Blues

I remember the time when I went to Manali with my friends from the office about two years ago. There was a day of travelling to Solang Valley in rain and snow. It was a lot of fun, but it was certainly really cold. Later that evening, I had a little bit of rum to warm myself up.

It's been a crazy winter which makes me think of that rum just about every other day. I arrive at work chilled to the bone, although I've been out in the open only for about ten minutes - that's how long it takes me to walk from the train station to the office. But a significant portion of those ten minutes is spent in an area that's not shielded by buildings on either side. It is actually right where the Charles river meets the sea. So it's open to sea breeze. Breeze is actually a very mild term for winds gusting up to 40mph on an average day, and even 80 mph on a bad day. I have seen the river freeze over in other areas, but even in mid-January, this part wasn't frozen and I figured it wouldn't freeze because it was so close to the sea. But it did. It froze, then thawed, then froze again, and thawed again. The parts of the river farther from the sea, however, stay frozen and accumulate snow and you cannot tell where the river bank ends and the river begins.

I grew up in a place where daytime temperatures hardly ever, if at all, went below 10 C. Out here, if the temperature begins to approach that figure, the weather service announces that we're going to have "mild" weather and people ditch their jackets. Even I felt like doing that this evening, but discovered that it was more comfortable to wear the jacket without zipping up the front than it was to carry it. I actually saw a guy standing right next to the river wearing shorts.

Every four or five days for the last six or so weeks, the weather service has issued a winter storm warning and predicted eighteen or so inches of snow in our area. Pretty accurate predictions most of the time. At one point, I was sure that if we had a little bit more snow, I wouldn't be able to see out of my windows. The snow on the ground had come just a little higher than the window sill and the icicles hanging from the roof had come down as low as the window sill.

But it's not the crazy amounts of snow that really bothers me, though this winter has seen really crazy amounts of snow even by New England standards and people who have lived here a long time are also rather tired of it now. What I find difficult to get used to is the variation in temperature we see from day to day. One day, we have a high of 23 F. The next day, we have a low of 33 F. And the third day is a high of 17. It's crazy. You have to check the weather just about every day to really know how many layers to wear.

But I am relieved to see almost two weeks pass by without any major snowfall, and quite some snow melting. The sidewalks in the city are almost completely clear now. Our driveway is almost dry, though there is still over a foot of snow in the yard. A foot of highly compressed, very heavy snow. But it's slowly melting. And spring is on its way. Fingers crossed.

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