I’ve been anxious about snow for the past few days. Worried my dear daughters, who helped their father drive 900 miles non-stop, would miss their return flights from Seattle yesterday evening. Worried about driving today and tomorrow, especially when our know-everything-about-the-region neighbors told us to stay home when it snows because it’s icy dangerous snow and our roads aren’t plowed and no one can drive those conditions well. Worried because it’s not just me, the newcomer concerned about the white flakes. The weather is leading local news reports as well as the talk at the market and post office.
Until late this morning, I’d never driven in snow. It has always been my husband’s job, and when he drove we were vacationing, choosing snowy recreation without any other responsibilities.
I had a great time walking in the first snow on Saturday. My husband, oldest daughter, and I had just finished trekking along Manzanita Bay at low-tide from our community beach access, tromping over barnacles and into sea-mud, until we came across the public access our fount-of-information neighbors had mentioned. We were walking along the street when the snow began and had a half-mile of novelty and fun, opening our mouths for falling flakes and enjoying hot cider with brandy upon our return.
Weather of any extreme isn’t quite so romantic when you have commitments and appointments. I used to live in a temperate rainforest. I was familiar with flooded culverts, shoveling drainage ditches, mudslides, road closures, and multiday power outages. But I don’t know anything about snow. The flakes began to fall this morning as soon as I pulled out of the driveway. I drove to town anyway, remembering what my husband said last night, “You’ll have to learn to drive in it sometime.” It wasn’t bad, rainy at lower elevations, a little icy on our road, but my chiropractor warned that conditions are worse when the snow freezes overnight. Tomorrow, I’ll see for myself. Another discovery in this place I call home.
I’ve been in the process, literally, of homemaking for weeks. Not simply unpacking our things and driving down streets to see where they lead, but establishing myself in this locale. Last week I attended a non-denominational church service on Sunday, had an eye exam on Monday, a cleaning and dental exam on Tuesday, received a massage on Wednesday, saw a chiropractor on Thursday, and dropped in on the newcomers yoga class Friday. Back in California, I would’ve combined several similar activities on the same day. But here, now, each event involves meeting someone new, filling them in on pertinent details, and trying to relax with unfamiliar people poking in my mouth, prodding my back, and staring into my eyes.
It was wonderful when my husband and daughters returned Saturday after two and half weeks away. I relished talking to people who knew me, who didn’t need explanations about my quirks and particularities.
Last week I bought a ticket to the high school’s show choir performance on Wednesday night. After days of venturing out on my own, I couldn’t force myself into a dark, cold car to find the high school theater, to sit through a performance where I wouldn’t know a soul in the audience or onstage. I’m an introvert by nature, nourished by the quiet and familiar of home that energizes me for my forays into the world. So it’s no surprise that I bailed on live entertainment, tugged on my pajamas, turned on a TV movie, and assembled a media shelf.
Surprisingly and thankfully, my new home felt familiar. The lacy bedroom curtains and thick sea-foam green carpet remind me of my mother’s past decorating choices, maybe the 1950’s sized bathroom vanity reminds me of my grandmother’s. My furniture and felines fill the rooms. It is home. Now my husband is with me and we’re squirreled inside, waiting for the midnight snowfall, waiting for the morning when we’ll wake to a landscape transfigured by a blanket of white. Our yard, block, neighborhood and island, new as they are, made even newer and more beautiful to us.