This morning I read a comment on Facebook which responded to a posting someone created that we were experiencing another snow storm in New England this morning. Not a big one. Just 4-7″ of dry snow, but enough to make a difference. The comment was from someone in Southern California and stated that they were glad that they lived in “sunny Southern California.” That is to say, “I’m glad I don’t have to live in New England where I would have to experience snow storms.”
What this person doesn’t grasp is that we, who live in New England, have an expectation that there will be snow in the winter. Where we live in Providence we don’t get as much as Northern New England, but we get our share. It’s to be expected. That is part of what is meant by the term New England Winter. Even people in Southern California love to read and quote Robert Frost’s poems, such as “Stopping by the woods on a snowy evening.” There is something very romantic about a New England Winter … snow and all.
Now that’s not to say that we don’t complain about the snow, especially when it comes in the amounts we received last week during “The Blizzard of 2013.” Two to three feet of snow in a day and a half is excessive. Father Winter must have fallen asleep and failed to release the snow lever. But the fact that we received snow is not surprising; it is to be expected.
There are many benefits to snow storms:
- For kids, school gets cancelled.
- Skiiers, snowmobilers and snowshoers are in seventh heaven.
- The water table in the Spring will benefit from it. Farmers will be happy.
- Car repair services thrive.
- The man who plows our driveway earns some extra cash.
- Grocery stores, hardwares, and box stores thrive. You would have to know about New England “get your milk, bread and batteries” tradition to properly appreciate this.
It’s all a matter of perspective. A New England winter can be devastating and exhilarating all at the same time.
One of the features of living in Rhode Island is that our winter is shorter than for most of the region. Because we are so ocean-sensitive the salt in the air and the way in which ocean streams work, we seem to experience Spring much earlier than the rest of New England. Ordinarily, we are seeing garden flowers popping through the earth in mid-March. Oh, there may be an occasional breath of snow in late March, but it’s just a dusting and is gone in an hour or so. Temps get milder, jackets get lighter, and motorcycles and bicycles reappear on the streets.
Truthfully, there is something wonderful about New England Winters, and it’s not all just romantic. It’s vigorous. Yet, it is also quieting. The rush subsides … it has to. People are more inclined to talk and laugh together in the Post Office, even if they don’t know each other.
And then, “sunny Southern California,” we don’t expect that someday New England will fall off the continent into the ocean due to a massive earthquake. Ouch. That wasn’t nice.
Photo Credit: Jed Waverly. Our grill on the deck, taken at 9:00 a.m.