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What did it mean to me to experience snow for the first time in the U.S? I visited my daughter in Boston in East coast in the state of Massachusetts 3 years ago at the peak of winter. With both our daughters in the US, one in each coast, the East and the West, when I first thought of going to the US, the weather definitely took the last place in my list of factors to consider visiting places in that country. All I thought was summer could not be that brutal, especially when you come from a country like ours and more so from Chennai, where the weather is defined as hot, hotter and hottest!
The seasons of fall and spring would probably be like our December, presumed I. And of course, we knew that there would be snow as well! After having lived in Ooty for 8 long years; and a vacation in the peak of winter in Mussoorie, I got the feeling that I had indeed seen the peak winter season.Looking forward to snowfall, with thoughts of riding on a sledge, fun fights with snowballs and plump snowmen, I chose my first stop in the US at Boston over sunny California.
In the beginning, there was nothing much to get habituated to, other than the fact that there was enough daylight during the times; I had my breakfast, lunch and dinner as usual; and September was pleasant with nothing much to complain. All that I had to do was to do everything in ways to which I was not accustomed to in India – Yes it was right from turning the switches on (by which I mean off!) to change to the month/day/year format. It is almost that time of year again when the crisp air of Fall season draws several visitors to wooded areas of Massachusetts to see the changing colour of leaves. It is a brief but stunning spectacle that welcomes the crisper, cooler air. Usually, splashes of colours start appearing by mid-September and become more striking as we enter October.
October began with a soft breeze and it gradually turned into gusty winds that threatened to sweep you off your feet in not a romantic way! Without deviating furthermore into the peculiarities and contradictions, I shall move on the third month of my stay in Boston. By the time I could grumble and mumble enough about the rains, came the chills, only increasing my mumbling a cut higher than usual. The temperature started decreasing and the number of layers I had to pile on myself every morning gradually started rising.
It was nearing end November and the days were chilly and we started to experience near-freezing nights. I learnt from my daughter that sometimes, snowfall starts in November. However, if the average time to be considered, snowfall happens between November to April. I was eagerly looking forward to the day when I would see the first snowfall in my life! As December hit, the temperature dropped down significantly. Predicting the weather in the Boston area is undoubtedly one of the toughest gigs around. It is usually in December that one sees the first snowfall of the year with about 2.3 meters of snow including lots of bone-chilling rain. The long nights almost freeze, while daytime temperatures hover just above the freezing point. With just about five hours of sunlight, this month has the shortest days. A heavy jacket or a coat with warm boots keep you comfortable during your stay. Now we were in mid-December.
My daughter and her friends could not stop rambling about the pretty snow scenery and there was much excitement in the air about the arrival of the forthcoming white Christmas. We saw people around us in a holiday mood and there was bonhomie everywhere. I was not too sure as to what I should expect. All I hear from my daughter and her friends is that it falls like cotton candy from the sky as a result of which the road looks white and fluffy instead of brown and mucky. The entire city bathes in the snow, which makes the Christmas feel amazing as well. This is the illusion which had been formed in my mind.
That particular day after having lunch and mocking the inaccuracy of weather forecast, the very next moment when I had finished eating and happened to glance through the window, what was the sight I saw made me stand wonderstruck – Innumerable flurries of snow falling in the air under the command of capricious, roaring winds! With innumerable trillions of snowflakes forming floating notes and the booming roars serving as the background music, finally, for the first time, I saw little flakes of white snow everywhere while it fell down from the sky like cotton rain. I stood transfixed on seeing the dance of countless snowflakes; with perfect synchronization, thudding against the grounds at exactly the same angles and speeds; and at other times glittering snowflakes falling in different spots in total disharmony – a horizontal stroke of a sudden flurry here, a tilting streak of bursting velvet there!. It’s just really something that which I would not have experienced if I weren’t in Boston at that time. It was one of those memorable moments of my life!
We sat silently in the dining room with lights switched on even though it was not 4 pm as yet! Outside the home, it was terribly cold and the huge snow chained down the houses with the people inside them. The next day dawned and the scenery which I woke up to was surreal! Viewing the snowfall through the window, we could feel an eerie and muted stillness outside! The aggressive winds gradually stopped and the buoyant fall of snow started slowing down. The day turned white leaving a thick comforter on the roofs. Windows opened doors ajar and children squealed, ready to appreciate and play with the cottony snow. The snow hugged the house like a day old baby, new and clingy. It appeared as though the entire street was asleep under Nature’s beautiful snow. It was odd to look at that view, which was so familiar and yet so different. There were the same houses with their peaked roofs and the street-lights which glowed but would be usually switched off at that time of the day. When I saw the snow for the first time, the whiteness of it made me want to jump on the smooth bed and embed my footprints on the crisp snow and allow the cold to numb my skin!
The television in the living room was blaring news of a historic snowstorm like never before. The snow had piled up to over 24 inches and people were trying to shovel snow off their porches and dig their cars… However, reality kicked in sooner than I had expected, when I decided to participate in the car excavation activity. Somehow digging out a car seemed more exciting than the porch shovelling.
I must admit here, despite not being a coffee lover, it was heavenly to hold the warm cuppa with my numb fingers and view the scene outside. Well, if you think that barging through snow is an ordeal, then walking on ice is a whole new ball game. Since the temperature was still below freezing point, the sun was of no help and the snow-crusted to form ice. I realized that the trick is to actually be able to see the ice on the ground and circumvent it, or chances are that you would land on all fours. I did have some nasty falls and wore a pair of sheepskin boots to become adept in that technique. After all that historic snow, and numerous more flurries that spanned over three months, I am no longer a novice to the wonderful experience of snowfall. It was a dream come true and a cross mark to my bucket list to finally experience snow!
Image via Pixabay
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