Omigod! Snow! What to do?

The weather prognosticators were agog this week with their predictions of the modest snowstorm that arrived here Wednesday afternoon.

All week long, these highly trained meteorologists and their anchor-people partners in the media have been steadily raising anxiety levels of their listeners with their forecasts of the mid-week snowfall they were certain would come.

It was not so much if it would snow on Wednesday, but how much, and where would the “jackpot” be? So it was endless days of doping out the future – this much north of the Mass Pike, that amount south, maybe mixed precip along the south coast, maybe nothing in ski country.
By yesterday morning, before the first flake had been seen, school was cancelled, a snow emergency had been mayorally proclaimed, and the governor had alerted “non-essential” state employees in counties south of the Pike to take a snow day. And he was said to be thinking about asking major employers to prepare for staggered release for their workers.

It has been almost three weeks since Bostonians saw the last snowfall, and yesterday morning dawned with bare lawns and clear sidewalks everywhere. Sure, the temps have been in the teens and twenties each morning, and most days it has been a struggle to reach the freezing mark. But we have had more than our share of cloudless, sun-filled days since the solstice in December, and in the coming few days, the Red Sox equipment trucks will be all over the news as they decamp from Fenway for the drive to spring training .

Hey, this is New England, for crying out loud, and it’s the middle of winter, just a week after Groundhog Day. What do we expect to happen, people? It’s supposed to snow in these months, at this time of year. Remember the Blizzard of ’78? Remember the St. Patrick’s Day storm? How about the 1997 April Fool’s blizzard?

Maybe too many of us are not from here, and thus have little memory of winters past. Maybe the non-natives among us saw that huge Facebook-organized snowball fight at Dupont Circle in Washington last weekend, and thought, “Aww, isn’t that novel, people out playing and having fun in the snow.”

But there’s a lesson here: If you put away the shovels, the ice scrapers, and the old broken pieces of furniture used to protect the curbside parking space, you probably were exercising a bit of a bad judgment.

Recall, if you will, the immortal words of the poet Ezra Pound:

Winter is icumen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm,
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ramm!
Sing: Goddamm.
Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
Freezeth river, turneth liver,
An ague hath my ham.
Damm you; Sing: Goddamm.
Goddamm, Goddamm, ‘tis why I am, Goddamm,
So ‘gainst the winter’s balm.
Sing goddamm, damm, sing goddamm,
Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.

In a related matter, the Franklin Park Coalition will host the second annual Winter Snow Festival this Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. in Franklin Park, with sledding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and a snowperson-building competition. Say the organizers: “The festival will be a wonderful opportunity for people of all ages to take advantage of the snow we will hopefully be getting (this week.)”
– Ed Forry

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