Every time snow falls above several inches and the wind chill factor sets in, I remember a documentary film that I learned about in cinema studies–“Nanook of the North”. Now, I don’t recall details from the film except Inuits trudging through the Arctic snow and ice. When I lived in Ontario, Canada for several months in 1986, I trudged through snow feeling a kinship for Nanook, but not really.
At the moment, western Washington is experiencing a fierce winter storm. As I sit cuddled up next to my computer a northeast wind slams against my window. The weather report includes a wind chill factor of zero and 35 mph winds with 50 mph gusts. Those gusts cause snow already on the ground and roofs to travel and drift in the wind. Basically, if you’re walking out there, those snow drifts hit you in the face and it’s not a pleasant winter wonderland feeling.
Every snowstorm reminds me of previous ones. I experienced the worst snowstorms when I lived in Ontario (I don’t know how I survived them) and certainly I experienced many fierce storms while living in Seattle. The storms of 1990, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, and 2007 come to mind. But when I was in college for whatever reason, I barely notice the cold and the snow didn’t bother me. I never slipped on the steep hills in Bellingham when I lived on Garden Street and walked uphill to campus. I had no problems trudging through the snowy campus. It wasn’t until I moved to Ontario that I got a real taste of Old Man Winter, and I lived there during the autumn months!
Today I’m noticing a scattering of students making their way onto campus. What is so important that they can’t stay home for two days and protect themselves from this weather? Perhaps it doesn’t bother them like it didn’t bother me when I was their age. Oh, but I worry about these kids regardless. Not that they need some stranger worrying about them. I’m surprised that the campus is even open on a day like today. I bet there are a few disgruntle professors who would have rather stayed home.
All storms pass as this one will. I hope it doesn’t leave too much damage in its wake. Certainly I see little humor in this weather and I can see humor in just about anything. Global warming comes to mind as it always does with strong weather patterns. Sadly, most people will just dismiss this weather with a shrug and indifference. No one wants to take responsibility for bad weather and destruction of the planet. Oh, well.