Ice is not something I am used to seeing outside of a freezer or an ice chest, where one has control of said ice. Ice is not something I am used to seeing stealthily coating the front steps, the back steps, the car handles, and everything in between and beyond.I am not used to ice bits pelting me as I edge my way to the car, hoping my yoga-trained toes can somehow grip the frozen ground through my boots.
Due to this evening’s impending winter storm, the college closed early at 2 p.m. I received this message at 1:40, right after my first lit class of the term, so I checked my email one last time. I packed up my belongings – my uneaten lunch, my scribbled notes for my course outlines, a few books I might need in case we get iced in until 10 a.m. tomorrow morning.
Ice warnings here in middle Tennessee and Southcentral Kentucky are a cause for concern. They often over-prepare, sending everyone home, just in case. People rush by the grocery stores, stocking up on bread, milk, and anything else they might need for several days stuck at home.
We own a small, indoor camping heater, which I insisted be placed just inside our truck camper (itself hunkered down on the patio for the winter) so we could grab it in an emergency situation.
Because no one wants to get stuck at work in an ice storm away from their families. Several years ago, I experienced a mild ice storm one winter when visiting my mother during winter break. It is surreal to witness entire trees coated with shiny, glistening, deadly ice. I say “mild” because the ice melted within the following two days, no electricity or heat was lost, and everything was fine.
As I took large deliberate steps around my car so I wouldn’t slip on hidden icy patches, I noticed that there were little icicles hanging from under my car. I gave serious consideration to crouching down in the ice-rain to capture an image of those tiny ice sculptures, but dismissed that thought as too cold.
It’s all so new to me: the ice warnings, the salt trucks, the need for heavy coats and gloves, the hunger that comes from being so cold, the need to allot extra time in the morning to deal with ice on the car and then on the roads, the whiteness that gathers in roof valleys and in patches under the trees, how quickly your hands get cold if you are foolish to think you can “toss out the trash” without gloves on when the temperature has fallen below freezing.
Tonight shouldn’t be too bad, though. Tomorrow’s forecast promises a heat wave with a high of 43!