Birthday Blizzard 2011

February 1st, 2011 | Meera

This is not that essay on ice I promised you. What it is, instead, is a video I made while walking through what the media in Chicago have been calling, with great brio and all-out apocalyptic fervor, a “dangerous winter storm,” an “all-encompassing snowstorm,” “the most intense blizzard we have seen since 1967,” and—my favorite, seen on the Chicagoist and sure to be copied, “Blizzaster 2011.” After all that hype, Dave and I agreed this morning (before it really began) that we weren’t at all sure this snowstorm was going to turn out to be everything it was cracked up to be. But you know what? This thing really delivered.

There is driving wind that sounds like it’s the big bad wolf and we are one very small, very stupid little piggy in a frail straw house. There is blowing snow. There is cottony debris all over our windows. There are people being blown down the sidewalk by gusts. There is a pickup truck on our street corner that iced itself into a real pickle at some point in the evening and has been revving its engine for the past half hour trying, unsuccessfully, to move. And there is thunder and lightning. It is pretty fucking awesome.

So we went outside.

According to a handy dandy chart I just consulted, the four or five minutes my hands were exposed while I was taking this video, along with a second, was far from sufficient to cause any kind of frostbite damage, given the temperature (about 20 F), the wind chill (about 3 F), and the wind speed (about 25 MPH). But that didn’t stop my fingers from hurting like hell when I finally got them back under cover of glove and pocket. In fact, the shock and adrenaline rush I felt as a result of the pain was not unlike what you might feel if you’d sustained a sudden and injurious fall. This is how much I love you and want to share with you the pleasures of the night.

But now, my friends, the end of my 32nd birthday nears, and for the next 100 minutes I intend to enjoy the snow from a less blustery vantage point. If you’re reading and you know I don’t know it, say hi, will you? It’ll be a lovely birthday gift.

5 Responses to “Birthday Blizzard 2011”

  1. CAROLYN says:

    happy birthday chiquita. I’m glad you got to go play in the snow, even if you aren’t planning to get back out there. ;)

  2. shoreacres says:

    Wonderful! I’ve been writing of snow envy, while you have – well, the real thing.

    But, since it’s your birthday, or was, I’ll not begrudge you the gift. Happy Birthday and thanks for sharing your celebration of snow!

  3. Kirin says:

    A belated but very happy birthday! For the past year or so I have been enjoying your deep and eloquent posts. You so often capture my feelings of awe and appreciation for the world and express them much more beautifully than I can!
    From a fellow budding scientist,
    Thank you!