04 March 2008


not the correction fluid. whiteout weather conditions. thickly falling snow, blown nearly horizontally by the wind, rapid accumulation on the ground. gives a whole new dimension to paul simon's song, "slip slidin' away". i faced six hours of driving in such rapidly deteriorating conditions today. the last couple of hours were the worst, after night fell. thud! for night driving i wear a pair of yellow lenses clipped onto my glasses -- they reduce the glare from oncoming headlights, and at the same time brighten objects in shadow, vastly improving night vision. but when your exterior mirrors keep disappearing beneath big wet flakes of snow that freezes upon contact, and you find yourself peering through the remaining transparent portions of your windshield as you would between venetian blinds, and you have to slow waaaay down to retain traction as the snow gets deeper, and then you discover yourself on a narrow roadway with no lighting, no sidepole markers, no visual reference other than your estimated distance to a chain link fence that runs parallel to the road, with snow-hidden ditches on both sides, and your headlights don't seem to penetrate more than ten feet ahead ..... and then you notice the absolute beauty of what's around you because it is lit from above, from city lights reflected off that low cloud ceiling, and the rest seems to fall into place, you enter a transcendent state in which you sense where to steer and how fast to go and when to turn, before the normal visual cues appear through the whiteout, and life is good.

still, i'm thankful i didn't have to drive farther or later. when i got back to my own vehicle for the short drive home, there were several inches of snow covering it. the wind and snowfall were such that by the time i'd brushed away the snow from the driver's side windows, and the back, and the curbside, and the front, the driver's side was already covered again!! i'm as green as many, greener than most, but i wouldn't trade my four-wheel-drive for anything on nights like this. it got me home safely, where two cats paced worriedly, greeting me with "where have you been? don't you know how hungry we are?" ah, home.

No comments:

Post a Comment