Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The first snow

The weather experts all forecast a strong chance of snow today, what would be our first flakes of the season.

The sky at sunrise held potential: thick charcoal clouds brushing fast-moving skies. The kids had been hoping desperately since last night when the potential had them dreaming of snowmen and snow angels and climbing up to the garage roof. But although the temperature dropped dramatically today, nary a flurry crossed our paths.

I saw an article on the newspaper's website midmorning about the weather projection. It said "Updated, 10am: the best chance for snow has already passed. Expect a dry afternoon." I smiled sadly for the kids; I remember being excited about snow.

Another article predicts we'll see a total snowfall for the season of 18-24 inches. It's not much. For years I've lived in places where that would be a night's measurement, not a season's. It's wild, thinking how computers and their interpreters are churning out numbers predicting events still weeks away. Maybe they'll be close. Maybe they'll be grandly, divergently wrong.

The kids were sad today about no snow, but I can't say I shared their opinion. It's not just that I don't want to see the snow (and I don't):

I think there's something exhilarating in how the forecast was wrong. I was explaining to E recently about analog clocks, the ones without individual hash marks for each minute. It concerned her that you might not know if it's 8:02 or 8:03 and I tried to explain that it almost never really matters. It's 8:02 or it's 8:03 and it's close enough for you to know if you're early or late for that meeting or if you can finish that chapter before your mama's idea of a grace period is up and she turns out your bedside light. We almost never need the precision with which contemporary digital living envelopes us.

E draws comfort in that precision, its sharp boundaries and expectations, and I would have, too, at her age. Now I like the freedom in not quite knowing, the extended anticipation of a seasonal first yet to come, the missed forecast and the best guesses for the next forecast. There are still mysteries to be savored and we're still on the lookout for that first snow.

Pin It