The metaphor-coiners always talk about the calm before the storm, but no one talks about the during or after.
No one mentions the surreal peace when the sky’s a violent pink and there are so many flakes falling down that you’re dizzy, spinning, looking up even with your feet solidly set on the ground– no one talks about how that calm in the midst hypnotizes you, still, until you realize with a jerk that you’re too cold to stay outside anymore, watching, feeling all of that change fall and melt into tears on your face, build up on the toes of your boots.
Although– knowing it’s time to get out of the storm is always a clue.
No one mentions the calm after the storm, before the sun breaks, before the fronts move away, when it’s just <i>still</i> because the wind has finally stopped howling, the snow has stopped drifting, and what’s happened is finally done and now there’s that quiet dark place to stand and see– <i>well, this is going to be a lot to clean up.</i>
Some of it sublimates on its own, but a big enough storm? Shovels and snowblowers just shove it off to the side, and it’d take weeks of warmer weather, rain, days of cool sun to start any melt, grind down all the accumulated tumult– and really, leaving all that storm-toss lying around is asking for trouble. Drifts up against your furnace outlet exhaust vent that must be dug out, less your house fall chill and dark. Walkways between paths higher than your head, and every time you toss the snow higher, it just slides back down because there’s eventually no place to put it, and it all feels so Sisyphean.
Sublimation in the hope it’ll dissolve on its own– displacement out of the immediate path– they’re not workable, long term, because your lanes of travel are clogged, you have to yield too often in your progress because some icicle’s cracked into the path and has to be cleared, that or some pile has avalanched, all of a sudden, from one of the piles you so painstakingly shoveled aside, tried to get out of the way, but now there’s this sudden surprising heap of mess in your way that you have to deal with before you can get on with your day (week, life, half a decade).
No, sometime you’ve got to bring in the earth movers, the dump trucks, the bobcats, and just go to town. Dump it all in the river, because at least there it’ll melt and if it’s just sand and salt that you’ve used to try to get traction– the natural abrasives, but nothing truly caustic– then you’re not polluting anything or making things any more of a mess than they already were. Sometimes there’s no choice but to do the full, heavy move and scrape it all down to the tar, to the dirt, to the slush and the ice that covers the last layer of things– but only now, after serious excavation’s been done, has it got room to melt– crack, shatter, too, but the important part is, ice is closer to water than snow drifts, and ice on the ground won’t kill you like an icicle to the heart from a long winter’s storm.
And maybe, even after that, sometime, there’s spring.
(I swear, one of these days I’ll stop talking in bad poetic metaphors about my shitty emotional feelings. Also, I just got back my laptop after two plus weeks of its being mostly dead, so. Catching up. I’ve got to do it.)