Monday, January 11, 2010

Where am I?

Last week I was immersed in a typical New England snow storm. I drove carefully in my mother's not-snow-tire-equipped toyota out of my friend's freshly shoveled driveway onto the recently ploughed and sanded local streets. It was snowy and cold. My boots were a blessing on my feet. Snow wafted into the car when I opened the door. But hey, it was Boston. This is normal there, right?

As we drove out onto the highway we found ourselves directly behind the fleet of 6 or 7 plough trucks, in a diagonal formation, clearing the 4 lane highway before us. It was quite impressive, and not a car was seen bumping into the side walls, nor crisscrossing before our paths.

And then I got on a plane and flew home to sunny Provence. And yes, Tuesday and Wednesday were lovely days. Even Thursday started out quite pleasantly. The sun streamed through my window. It was cold so I had the wood stove going nearly twenty-four hours straight. But with warm socks, clogs, jeans, a heavy sweater, etc., I was fine.

And then they announced snow, starting in the night and falling through the morning. Gaetan reacted quickly. He called his mother and got permission for me to put him on a train that evening. I should have taken note of his prescience. Not two hours later the school called and announced its closing for the next day. Yet still, I didn't move. Or rather, I was on my way to a nice warm bath, and the thought of mobilizing to get the kids to Erick's or me elsewhere just didn't come to me.

I awoke, jet-lagged, at 3:30AM to a pink-tinted world of trees coated in heavy layers of fresh snow, and flakes falling still. In the morning (or rather, late morning) when next I awoke, my car was under a foot of heavy snow, and my phone line had fallen with the weight of the dense accumulation on my jasmin vines. I didn't even contemplate moving the car. And shovel? Yikes, my garden shovel would work, yes, but it certainly isn't a snow shovel. And I'm not used to this. However, put on boots and go out for a walk with Filou and Jonas? Well yeah, that I can do and with joy.

We didn't even attempt to move the car that day. Erick wasn't willing either to attempt coming up from Arles where he too was snowed in. Roads were a mess, trucks (though the majority removed from the roads in advance) blocked some major routes.

I did persevere the next day however (yesterday). I got out my shovel, some cardboard and worked to remember my Northern roots. There was a time when this was normal for me... back when. And off I slipped and slid and with a bit of effort, and some pushing by my neighbors (using my mother's time-honored rocking technique), I managed to drive out of my little country road (very carefully) and get to clearer surfaces.

As I drove down the West side of the Rhône I passed many a downed tree, and three small cars off in the ditches. Happily, I didn't join them.

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