That First Michigan Snow

Ashok sprinted out the door into the snow this morning. She leaped a few times, tucked her butt to pee and then sprinted back in with a grin on her face. The first snow is always a happy surprise.

If you live in Michigan, you know it’s coming. It’s as much a given as the sun rising every morning. Sometime in November snow will blanket the lawn and cause all kinds of havoc on the roadways. Dogs will roll and leap with joy. Snowblowers will spit and growl to clear the way for life as usual.

I forgot that I had stored my snow boots. I ran upstairs to the closets, but they weren’t there. “Ah! I think I saw them in the basement,” I remembered. I had to put on my slippers to avoid the cold floor, run downstairs and find my boots. I also needed to pack my dress boots. That took another run around the house. Locating my gloves stole another few precious minutes. By then I was already late and didn’t have time for the slow crawl on the roads, slipping and sliding in the unplowed snow. Even the snow removal crew had to get warmed up for the season. 

I had to run an errand before work, and I missed the entrance to my acupuncturist’s office because it looked so different blanketed in snow. I backed my car up and slowly crawled into the parking lot. “I can’t believe you came in here this morning,” my acupuncturist said with a laugh. I had run out of my herbs. My mood will drop into depression soon enough as winter descends. I was motivated to delay it as long as I could. I needed that refill today.

My coworkers dragged in at least 20-30 minutes later than usual. My boss came in shouting “I hate everything about this!” It’s as if we are all in denial. It’s the end of November. The weather forecast called for it last night. I knew that I would need boots, gloves and my heavy coat sooner rather than later. But I sunk into denial about the inevitable first snow. 

Today was a Christmas postcard. Lake effect snow pelted us for most of the day. I was shocked and awed every time I walked by a window. I took Ashok for a walk when I got home, and it took me a minute to remember that I have to walk like a penguin or I’ll fall like a schmuck. Those childhood messages to “stop dragging your feet” don’t work up here. Even our workplace features signage by the doors telling you to walk like a penguin in the parking lot. 

A man was blowing snow off the sidewalk in my neighborhood. He walked the entire block, giving his neighbors a pass on shoveling the sidewalk for this first snow. I remembered last year a neighbor excitedly came over to clear my driveway. “I just got this new snowblower,” he exclaimed. “I have to try it out.” By the next week, the newness had worn off, and I got the message that if I wanted my driveway clean I’d have to get my own damn snowblower. There’s only one free pass.

We have snow in the forecast every day this week. By the end of this week, I’ll know exactly where my snow boots are. A pair of gloves will be hanging by each door to dry. My coat will be a regular part of my wardrobe. And Ashok will hurry out to do her business without a blink of the eye. Winter has inevitably arrived in Michigan, and our day for feigned shock is over. 

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