An ode to the fallen snow: Go away
By VAL TORRENS
North Kitsap Herald Columnist
December 26, 2008 · Updated 6:06 PM
The fall weather was delightful. Cool, sunny days, broken by rain periodically, but mostly it was the glorious display of color. It was reminiscent of the marvelous showings that I grew up with back east. This “east coast” weather has now continued with the snow.
And, that suits me just fine. I know that for many snow is a four letter word. That is unfortunate but understandable. After all, it means it is cold. Schools and businesses can close. Getting anywhere can be difficult. Events and social gatherings get cancelled or changed. In short, life is affected.
But, like anything else, it can be a blessing or a curse. For those for whom this weather costs them money in terms of lost business income or wages, I do feel sorry for them. We live in an area that is sorely ill equipped to deal with this weather.
Given snowfall like this is a rare occurrence, it is not surprising that there is not enough equipment to deal with all the roads. So, the highways and main arterials, naturally, get taken care of first. The state does a fairly good job of keeping the highways in Kitsap County in decent condition. The county does what it can but there are so many county roads that it is amazing they are able to even get to neighborhood roads at all.
Generally, if one can get to/from a highway or main arterial, then one can get around fairly well.
It is really whether one can get to/from the highway that really causes the transportation problems. Steep hills are closed off as a safety precaution. Neighborhood roads are left to last for plowing/sanding. Again, that is sensible, however, it makes it very difficult to get around. Deciding to drive anywhere becomes akin to planning a foray into a hostile environment. It can be done, but it just takes awhile.
The bigger challenge with this weather is in dealing are all the people who are not used to it.
The smart ones who know they are inexperienced in dealing with snow or do not have the necessary road equipment (four wheel drive/chains/snow tires) stay off the roads. Those of us who can drive in the snow thank them. It is the others who think they know what they are doing but don’t that cause the problems and make others wish they had stayed home.
I would much rather drive in snow than what we usually get to deal with in our winters: black ice. Black ice is insidious and thus very dangerous. Despite one’s best efforts, one can encounter black ice and be in a bad position without any warning.
This is not true with the snow and the ice that can accompany it. First, you can see the snow. While it can hide edges of roads and driveways, if one is going slowly enough, one can feel the change in grade that portends the edges so they can be steered away from.
But, the best part of snow is that you can get traction, at least much better traction than on black ice. Even the gravel/sand that gets spread around here works much better with the snow. And, when the snow does turn to ice, it can be seen. The contrast between snow and its ice is evident. Give me that ice over black ice any day of the week.
Of course, the best part of snow is playing with it. From making snowmen to snowball fights to snow forts to sledding to skiing to snowboarding and more, there is a lot of fun stuff to do with snow. And, now, one does not even have to travel anywhere other than outside their own house to partake in many of these delightful activities.
While our cats get cabin fever – they really do not understand why we cannot just make this go away so they don’t have to get their paws wet – we enjoy being out and about in it.
Of course, given our normal weather patterns, the snow may be a thing of the past by the time this is in the paper. In the meantime, our thermal underwear and snow boots are coming in handy.
Val has been called a community activist — or agitator — depending upon one’s view. She contributes her time in the fields of arts, education, human rights, lacrosse, land use, politics and her Jewish community. Val has been an adjunct faculty member of OC since 1980 where she teaches political science and speech. She resides outside of Poulsbo with her husband and their pets.