Winter makes commendable appearance

By Grant McGee: Local columnist

So how about this winter weather?

There was that big ice storm two weeks ago and The Big Snow last weekend.

Did you go out, plop your butt down in the deep white stuff and make a snow angel? Did you roll up huge snowballs and make a giant snowman?

How long has it been since you’ve seen a snow like that? There was the deep snow we had back in March ’05 but it melted quicker than a frost on a spring morning.
Last time I saw a snow that deep was November ’92 in Amarillo.

Last winter was mild; this winter is winter.

I like having winter; a frosty, cold, white winter. I’ve missed them.

Strong winter weather is spotty here in the Great American Southwest. During a snowstorm is a good time to be inside doing things like catching up on movies you’ve wanted to see, games you’ve wanted to play, conversations that have been missed or letters that should have been written.

The big ice storm before The Big Snow was something new for me. At first I didn’t think of it as an ice storm. To me, an ice storm is when the trees, power lines, fences, roads, everything is covered with a clear, glittering, crystal coating. The one we got was white rime from a subfreezing fog, what I used to see on cold Appalachian mountaintops after clouds had swirled around them. Everything was frosted white, a different kind of white than a snow.

During the ice storm everything was quiet too, the fog creeping in on Siberian Tiger feet eating all sounds. Car engines could only be heard when they were close, boom box cars weren’t heard and either trains weren’t running or the fog was eating that sound too.

I stood out back of our stucco hacienda enjoying the quiet. It was quiet — graveyard quiet, midnight quiet, deep forest quiet.

Then there was a loud CRACK followed by a shushing, crackling sound. A large branch had broken from the elm tree in the neighbor’s back yard, no doubt from the weight of the ice.

Enjoying the quiet, frosty white world I had forgotten about the problems ice storms bring. I went back into the house.

“We better get ready,” I told The Lady of the House. “Power’s probably going to go out.”

“OK, Chicken Little, I’ll get right on that,” she said. “If the power goes out it goes out. Sit down and have some hot cocoa.”

The Lady of the House makes hot cocoa from scratch. It’s the best.

Sometimes a person might wonder if they’re missing out on something by living on the High Plains. If you think about it, here in Clovis you get an assortment of weathers to enjoy: Minnesota for a few winter days, Florida for a time in the summer. If you lived in the cold northland the snows would come in the fall and stay ’til spring, getting dirty and becoming maddening in the process. Soon after it snows here, the bright New Mexico sun comes out and melts it away.

At this point in life I realize that’s all the winter I want.

The morning after The Big Snow I stepped out into a brilliant sunny morning. The air was crisp and cold. White was everywhere. Ah snow, this is winter. And this is the way it should be.

Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at:
blisscreek@plateautel.net