In proper meteorological parlance, a "Blizzard" is classified by wind speeds of something like 30 or 35 mph for at least 3 hours. We here in The Cities, have most definitely NOT experienced those wind speeds, although we have been experiencing very heavy snowfall, high winds (just not blizzard-high), blowing,drifting, and outright miserable road conditions. In other words...we are experiencing a mere Winter Storm. A big Winter Storm, but nothing with the quality of a Blizzard.
Now, don't get all down on people who call it a Blizzard! We Minnesotans like melodrama, which is evidenced by Fish-Stories on the Fishing Opener (yes, really), and Blizzard Tales at any point during a winter snowstorm! (And some of both are actually TRUE! Remind me to tell you of the time I nearly caught a Grandaddy Northern that nearly snapped my pole in half...)
Anywho...no matter what the term that applies, whether country or city, this whirling dervish is doing a number on all of us here in Minnesota and Wisconsin; therefore we do what all experienced upper-Midwestern people do in the winter: we batten down the hatches and reserve our errands, if we must go out, to local endeavors. That is, if we can get out of our driveways and actually see where we're going!
This morning I did have to run out and decided to do so sooner rather than later. We already had about 5 - 6 inches on the ground by the time I backed out of my garage, and I nearly got stuck where my driveway meets the city-owned Cul-de-Sac, which had clearly been sorta-plowed once, early on.
I considered turning back before I was even a block away; I couldn't see very well, there were random piles of snow created by plow wars between the City and various home-owners association contracts, and the idiots were out in force, fishtailing and driving crazy without actually looking to see if anyone else would be taken out by their stupid antics.
But I digress....
The main streets in my city were well plowed, every 2 cars was a squad car, and most people who had ventured out out were driving slowly and with consideration for other drivers. I skipped one errand because I didn't think I could turn onto that road without plowing my entire front end into a plow-formed bank and getting stuck there until April. The rest was fairly uneventful but for the near-whiteout conditions, saved by occasionally chopping ice off my wipers to make them work every now and then.
I was supposed to go to Adoration this afternoon and after my morning trek, was almost certain I'd make it.
Like everyone else, I watched the conditions. If I had a 4-wheel-drive vehicle, it wouldn't have been in question. However, no, I don't. Prudence must come into play.
I called my hourly coordinator and learned one of the people on my same hour would almost certainly be there, barring sickness. So I waited, watchingthe weather, and when it got close to time to go, I walked down my driveway to assess the conditions. It was as if our own plows hadn't been through at all, and clearly the City had forgotten about our little street.
Sadly, I walked inside and called the gentleman to verify he would be there, and apologize to Jesus for being stuck at home.
I went back out thinking to check mail and further ponder...could I go? I knew that if the city plow came by while I was gone, I'd never be able to get back into my driveway. Then what? (I'm sure my nice neighbors would help me shovel my car into the driveway).
There, where I'd been not 3 minutes prior, was a car about the size of mine, stuck in the muck of snow. A woman was behind, trying to push it out while the driver spun his tires constantly, actually working against the woman doing all the hard labor. I didn't know them, but asked if she wanted some help?
"Sure!" she responded, catching her breath. (This is a very normal scene in MN. I've been pushed out by many a stranger, and they wave as I pull away, waving me also forward so as not to get stuck again! It's ingrained in our culture).
I joined her in back of the car and pushed, and the car began to move in spite of the driver's actions. After a couple minutes of not going anywhere or gaining momentum, the woman opened the rear door and told the driver how to hit the gas, not to constantly spin his wheels. I heard him yell angrily at her, and the only word I heard clearly was the f-bomb, at which she flinched, too. She started to respond, shrugged, and came to the back of the car and began to push again, so I joined her again.
Yeah, well, we got him out in spite of himself, I walked away and the woman thanked me. The driver...nuthin'.
But then again, in MN we don't do stuff out of courtesy; we do it because it's right. (Which is also why I didn't pop his tires in response to his obvious verbal abuse of his girlfriend..it wouldn't have been right.)
Anyway...there you have it.
I looked up just as we were getting the guy who didn't know how to drive out of his mess to see a City plow coming down the street. I tellya, these were the big guns, a huge tractor with 2 PLOWS! The main one and a smaller more flexible extension. It was beautiful to behold, a true artform as he passed through and around our street, moving the snow out of the way of we decent drivers!
I nearly applauded but by the time he was close enough to see my hands were full of mail and a package I'd ordered.
It was clear, though, that I'd been right to decide not to go to Adoration, as hard as that decision was; I would not have made it through the plow-slough.
This weekend, I was originally supposed to go to Wisconsin, and with friends (and hopeful future religious community) attend Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, WI, offered by the now-Cardinal Burke. There were other very special reasons for this trip, and it was with a heavy heart that, yesterday, in the face of the developing storm, I decided to stay home.
Today I'm grateful for that decision, but sad that God denied me not just that grace, but also the regular grace of Adoration from me. I still prayed at home, and took the time to work on my Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. It wasn't lost time it was just...time differently allocated for God.
Although my attitude didn't start out this way, I now I thank God for this storm, for it was part of His plan for us all, and in all it's terrible fury, there is beauty, there is order and therefore there is evidence of God's love, mercy and benevolence.
"Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever; And blessed is your holy and glorious name, praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.
Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory, praiseworthy and glorious above all forever.
Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.
Blessed are you who look into the depths from your throne upon the cherubim, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.
Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven, praiseworthy and glorious forever.
Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever.
Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever.
You heavens, bless the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever.
All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever.
All you hosts of the Lord, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
Sun and moon, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
Stars of heaven, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
Every shower and dew, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
All you winds, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
Fire and heat, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
Cold and chill, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
Dew and rain, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
Frost and chill, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
Ice and snow, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
Nights and days, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
Light and darkness, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
Lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
Let the earth bless the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever!