Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Of course I was going to take my daily walk despite the piles of snow on sidewalks and streets.

The logical thing seemed to be to clear off my car before walking and I had just begun sweeping the powdery snow off it when I heard a man's voice behind me. "Can I dig out your car for you, sweetheart?" A neighbor, snow shovel in hand, had shown up to do the hard part.

Snow had drifted halfway up my tires so he got busy removing that as well as the piles of snow the plows had pushed up against my car, effectively imprisoning it in a snowbank.

He'd already ventured out in the world, informing me while he worked that Broad Street was completely clear and Marshall Street semi-clear but that the side streets were a disaster. He wanted me to start the car and sit inside while he toiled, but I couldn't live with myself if I was warm and seated while he worked on my car.

Once he'd moved a whole lot of snow, I drove my car in and out of the parking space a dozen times to pack down a path to make it easier to leave later. "Too bad you can't reserve this space when you leave," he said. Too bad is right after all the work he'd done for me.

I thanked him profusely for his assistance ("Happy to do it for you, sweetheart") and my knight in shining armor headed inside to warm up, shovel over his shoulder.

Not me. I intended to explore the neighborhood and see what had been wrought in the snow. Jackson Ward's creative residents have been known to craft some spectacular snow sculptures (including far too frequently snow penises) when we get this weather and I was curious to see what might be out there.

Although Broad Street itself was cleared, plenty of the sidewalks weren't yet or were still in the process. One guy was using a snow blower (who knew anyone around here even had one?) to clear a parking lot between two buildings in the Arts District. I found that out by accident as I walked by and felt a flurry of snow being forced in my direction.

It was quieter than a Sunday along Broad Street with only occasional small groups of people at bus stops. I saw one guy trying to navigate the snow-crusted sidewalk in a wheelchair and helped him over a particularly difficult ridge of snow.

Someone had crafted a small snowman complete with twig arms and smile in the unlikeliest of places: in front of the Marriott Hotel near the curb facing the hotel. In front of a bank of snow at the Library of Virginia, someone (presumably Monica) had written in the snow, "Petersburg, A Stop by Monica." I have no clue what she meant by that.

As I approached the National, I saw a guy get out of his truck and go up to the box office window, tapping on it. Surely he didn't think anyone was in there and I said as much to him. Shrugging, he said he'd been hopeful. I had to know what show had motivated him to come out in this weather for tickets.

Get this: the Buckeye Country Superfest in Columbus, Ohio, a two-weekend country music extravaganza. And you're trying to get tickets for that here, I asked incredulously. "Well, this is a Ticketmaster, so yea," he said as if I were an idiot.

Needless to say, he got no tickets since the National was closed up tight.

Coming back toward home, a guy passed me and smiled, saying, "Lookin' good, Boots." For the record, I didn't have on boots, but I appreciated the thought.

Few places were open beyond Steady Sounds/Blue Bones Vintage and a convenience market; very few had even bothered with a sign, probably presuming that no one would even try to stop by. The bead shop's read "Closed for inclement weather" but I had a feeling that it had gone up yesterday before an early closing.

But of course Nick's Market was open. I can tell you that the people coming out of there, bags of subs and chips in hand, looked mighty happy or maybe that was just unadulterated gratitude. If I hadn't just made a batch of chili yesterday, I'd have gone in myself.

Instead, I went home to get out the snow shovel and clear my front steps and sidewalk somewhat before the temperature drops to 14 degrees come darkness. Now that this lapsed Catholic and my car can escape tonight to celebrate Mardi Gras, I wanted to ensure a path back into the house whenever all that ends.

My beads and I aren't going to want to navigate snowy steps in the wee small hours of Ash Wednesday, I can assure you.

No comments:

Post a Comment