the eighteen-inch blizzard

18 Qawl 166 B.E. (Baha’i Calendar)
Soundtrack in my head:  It’s A Beautiful Day, “Essence of Now”
Winter Way Man Blizzard March
JerzyGorecki / Pixabay

This time the city had good reason to shut down. People had been talking about the coming of this blizzard all week.  Predictions for snow accumulation from the blizzard kept going up–from six inches to ten, to twelve, and even sixteen.  But we’d heard dire weather predictions before that had not come to fruition. 

The snow started really coming down once it got dark yesterday afternoon.  A few of us were working late, putting in overtime, and we were calculating how late we could work and still miss being bogged down by the weather.  I left at 5:45 and got the timing just right.  My bus was only a couple of minutes late.  It was a bit slick, but the accumulation was minimal, and I have to hand it to Metro bus drivers–most I’ve encountered are good at navigating through inclement weather. 

I got home and saw two housemates shoveling, even though barely an inch had fallen.  I knew that a lot more shoveling would need to be done later.  As the evening wore on, we heard about cancellation after cancellation–Madison Public Schools, suburban schools, the University of Wisconsin, and others.

Right before I went to bed, I checked the Madison Metro website to see if the buses would be running the next day.  I’ve heard that it is rare for Madison Public Schools to close, and if they did, Madison Metro likely would, too.  But they said that service was expected to be going on the following morning.  When I turned the lights off to go to bed, I noticed it was unusually bright in my room because of the snow from the blizzard.  Every now and then, I would wake up, look outside, and notice that the snow was piling higher and higher on the railings, and even the phone lines were covered with snow.

I woke up at 5 a.m., and the first thing I did was to check the Madison Metro website to see if the buses were running.  The site hadn’t been updated since the night before.  I listened to the radio and began to check some of the local television station websites to see if there was any news.  The authorities were telling us to stay home if at all possible due to the blizzard.  At about 5:40 a.m., about ten minutes before I would have left for work, (I was coming in early for overtime)  the website for Channel 27 said that Madison Metro was delaying the start of service, waiting for clearance from police.  Finally this information appeared on Madison Metro’s website as well. 

So I waited, and checked email and Facebook.  Six o’clock turned into seven,and I realized that I wouldn’t make it into work on time.  So I called work, and let them know that I would be delayed.  Seven turned into eight, and each hour the update was the same–Metro service delayed pending clearance from authorities.  Finally, at about 9:30, the website announced that Metro service was cancelled for the whole day.  I would have a day off work.  I called work again and this time I got my supervisor on the phone.  Three out of fifteen people had come into work that day, and one of them had to leave early.

I looked outside.  The world was transformed by walls of snow that had not been there the day before.  The plows had gone through and cars were buried.  The sidewalks were unusually crowded with people.  Everyone was staying home, and shoveling. 

Today was productive.  I sent out a few emails I needed to send out and I put together some devotions for the Friday night devotions that are in my house.  I relaxed, meditated, and then in the late afternoon, I began cooking the house dinner because it was my turn to do so.  It was nice not to have to hurry up with cooking.

The Metro website now says, “as conditions allow, service will resume on Thursday.”  My guess is that I’ll be back at work tomorrow, further behind than we were before.  But it has been nice to slow down and take a breath in the middle of the week.

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