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The Snow Opera

 

When we are expecting a blizzard or snowpocalypse, the news shows start to take over the airwaves, covering each snowflake as it falls from the sky. And it’s exciting! It’s as if we’re all in the middle of a soap opera, waiting for each new drama to pop up. It makes me feel important when what’s going on outside my window has made national news. It’s something like what would happen if aliens invaded the earth. The level of drama and rhetorical hysteria is pretty similar.

The subways have stopped!

Don’t leave your house!

All of the bread is gone!

It's snowing!!!!!

It’s snowing!!!!!

Mom’s favorite thing about snowy days is the opportunity to watch our neighbors through the blinds of the living room windows. We can see the maintenance guys plowing the parking lot with their little golf cart, and neighbors shoveling their cars out with what look like plastic beach shovels. There’s a lot of yelling, from the louder of the two maintenance men, because people dare to walk on the walkways before they’ve been shoveled and salted, or try to drive to work before the parking lot is completely cleaned.

 

Butterfly is flying!

Butterfly is flying!

Because Cricket is coming after her!

Because Cricket is coming after her!

Mom finds it all very entertaining. There was the night when one of our neighbors shoveled out her car, for hours, even though it was expected to snow two times as much over night and her car was buried again by morning. Then there’s the woman who thinks that as long as she bundles up, she should be able to walk to the library in any blizzard. Some of the men help with the shoveling. One even has a plow on the front of his pickup truck and helps out when they need him. Then there are the alcoholics. We don’t see much of them in the winter.

Cricket, dressed up for the snow party.

Cricket, dressed up for the snow party.

The first snow day of the season was exciting. The whole world was planning to shut down for a day or two, and mayors and governors were on the news, with dramatic sign language interpreter’s doing modern dance routines at their sides. Suddenly, I had to make chicken soup, and bread, and cookies. I wasn’t even that hungry, but it reminded me of weather events from my childhood, spent in the kitchen with my mother and brother, drinking hot cocoa after building an igloo on the front lawn. Of course the food outlasted the snow by days.

"Where's the rest of the snow?"

“Where’s the rest of the snow?”

I remember a book called Smilla’s Sense of Snow, a mystery, I think, but what I remembered most were all of the different words for snow in Smilla’s mother’s language. So far this winter there’s been: a heavy, wet snow that comes from a rain/snow mix, and makes each shovel full almost impossible to lift; there’s been icy rain that lands in hard pellets on my head and then creates black ice within seconds so I can’t figure out where to put my feet; there’s been soft, powdery snow; and snow that develops a hard crack surface, so that the dogs seem to be breaking pieces of candy with each step; we’ve had tall, hard piles of snow; and lacy, bumpy layers of ice; and then there’s the slush, where it feels like someone poured their sorbet onto the sidewalk and it’s turning into soup as I walk through it.

Cricket has discovered a wonderful new game this winter – it is the cat poop treasure hunt. One of the feral cats has taken to climbing onto the snow mountains in the backyard, pooping, and then burying the poop with a little extra pile of snow. Cricket, with her very effective sniffer, discovered the first of these magic pellets before I knew anything about it. She came in from a walk with Grandma, jumped up onto my bed to wake me up, and pawed my face with cat pooped paws. It certainly woke me up – and then shocked her, because she landed in the bathtub immediately, along with my bed linens and pajamas. She was horrified, and confused. Here she’d brought me this wonderful gift and I was angry? Why?

Hershey, placing the treasure.

Hershey, placing the treasure,

and burying it.

and burying it.

Each time we go outside now, I watch Cricket carefully, and if that nose gets too interested in one spot or another, yank goes the leash. She tries to jump up onto the snow mountains herself, and then falls down the side when her paws fail to grip. She’s tried to poop on top of the cat poop, but she doesn’t think to hide her poop, and anyway, I’m always watching, and ruining her fun, removing her poop before she can bury it and create her own treasure hunt for later.

Someone tossed birdseed onto the back lawn one day and then it snowed, just a dusting, and you could see hundreds of bird footsteps in the snow, and now Cricket can’t stop sniffing. Those little feet must smell good.

The most upsetting thing this winter has been when they’ve promised me a snowmageddon, and it ends up being a little bit of rain. Rain?! What happened to all of that promised snow? I feel bereft. Now what am I going to do for entertainment?

"What's next?"

“What’s next?”

 

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About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

85 responses »

  1. We’re in the middle of an hours-long snowstorm too. We’ve got several inches on the ground and today’s added depths are gorgeous. We so love the snow! 🙂

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  2. Your furbabies always make me smile.

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  3. Loved this! And your observations are so true!!

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  4. That is too funny about Hersey burying…**ahem** her kisses. Dogs (and cats) sense of smell is nothing short of amazing. Cricket looks so darn cute all covered with snow! Another great post, Rachel.

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  5. Rachel, Rachel, Rachel. The solution to everything is in your own column. Set an alcoholic on fire-it will last a couple of weeks and all the snow will be gone. Easy Peasy.

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  6. I left Colorado years ago, mostly to avoid ever shoveling snow again. But I did make chicken and dumplings this evening in honor of your Snowmageddon.

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  7. am tickled pink about “snow queenies”… 😉

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  8. Butterfly and Cricket blend in to those snowy ‘scapes! What is it about these snowy days that makes cooking a requirement?

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  9. I’m reminded of all the fond memories I have of past snowfalls in Honolulu. Wait, I don’t have any.

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  10. Please send your snow out to Utah!

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  11. Do Cricket and Butterfly ever get snow caked on the fur in their toe pads? It’s funny how they’ll try to shake it off then chew at it

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  12. I’d love to see how Kali reacted to snow. Probably won’t ever happen unless we go to the mountains. I think we are destined for 30 years of drought here in Northern CA.

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  13. Very nice. Observational, entertaining, positive and amusing. Keep up the good work :).

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  14. Ah yes, it’s always a challenge for good hearted dogs to understand the way of cats. I hope she enjoyed her bath at least.

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  15. You have certainly made entertainment out of what must be problematic weather conditions. I loved this post

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  16. It’s endless muddy walks here in woody Warwickshire! Time for spring..

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  17. You should have your own TV show with those little guys! And throw in the cat… such adventure!

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  18. haha yes, funny story! Moli loves snow, and the British weather people do the same when ‘severe weather’ has been forecast…. Nice one.

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  19. We’re in day 3 of the snowmageddon storm that has been fanned by media reports. People act as if stores will be empty forever. It’s so crazy whenever the shelves are emptied. I’m not sure what’s causing all the hype except maybe a 24 hr. news cycle. People drive around to snatch up every loaf of bread and package of eggs possible. A couple of women nearly got into a fight around the last egg container. How crazy is that?! In my neighborhood fox scat is more likely than cat and it’s far grosser than kitty poop. Think a milder version of skunk. Snow may hide the treasures but not the scent and I have to be extra vigilent with Sam. Stay warm!

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  20. You are so right. The weather people make every weather happening into an event and now they are giving all these events names. WTF?

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  21. We have a neighbor cat that insists on peeing on our back door. Ginger tries to sniff it when she is getting her feet wiped when she comes in from outside. I keep cleaning but that cat keeps peeing.

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  22. I wish I could share your enthusiasm for the white stuff, feeling a little jaded after three months of it!

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  23. I just love your pets! They are so darling.

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  24. You make the snow scape sound very interesting. i’m sure Arran would be after the cat treasures too.

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  25. cold windy wintery but we have fun sometimes. yet the real cold NOPE

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  26. Ish! Blisards scars me sometimes. Nice post 🙂

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  27. After 30 years in New York and New England, I miss the snow. It’s been in the 70s and sunny for most of the past week, although we did get about two hours of rain this morning. I will gladly trade places with you any day!

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  28. So funny..got my laughs in for the day…Love it!

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  29. What fun, Rachel! Cat poop is the most wretched of all droppings! I’m glad you survived. Peace, John

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  30. Love the bit about Cricket and her cat poop quest in the snow LOL!

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  31. Somehow, your posts nEver appear in my reader… I hope you are enjoying the snow. When you speak of Cricket, I think of the game

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  32. Isn’t it odd to watch all those cat poop piles melt to the ground as the snow disappears. Well, at least cats TRY to bury their poop in the winter.

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  33. I adored your description of the sign language interpreters. Perfection!

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  34. Great post Rachel! I remember the hysteria in media before every forecasted snow storm when still in D.C. It great that both Butterfly and Cricket love snow, Bumble never cared much for it. No grass to go on when the nature calls…he’s like a born Floridian.

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  35. We have a little game of Find the Poop, ourselves, and it’s not a fun one! Our Polly loves eating it, too, and it’s always just Snickers’ poop, not her own. I spent nearly an hour last week chiseling out the poop from the snow and ice so Polly wouldn’t be able to play her game. It’s too cold for that, and she comes in and throws it up. Now we pick it up right away despite the subzero temps and walking on the icy path. What we do for them to keep them healthy! 🙂

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  36. I hear you Rachel…Zush and Kasia go muzzle down in the snow and I’m like, “oops, let’s go girls.” What’s that old chestnut? Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice,shame on me….lol…btw, I did cookies too! Always intrigued, though, why they don’t add toilet paper into the ” eggs, bread, and milk” equation….

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  37. Cat poop treasure hunt…I hope Choppy never, ever hears of this!

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  38. Love it! More cricket and butterfly! More snow! Monkey can’t get enough of the fluff either they are same size would be good pals.

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  39. Too adorable! I’m in Atlanta and it seems like Cricket and Butterfly are tougher than us. It snowed here but didn’t stick . It is supposed to be in the 40s tomorrow. Do you know all schools are closed here?! Come save the day Cricket & Butterfly :))

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  40. Another lovely post! I’ve never seen snow. Don’t know about Chicki, because she was thirteen months old when we got her. I wonder what she’d make of it…

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  41. I would LOVE to fly in the snow like Butterfly! We don’t get snow where I live but I know I would like it.
    (I understand about the bath – been there, done that 😉 )

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  42. I love the language you use “snowmageddon” for example, your descriptions are marvellous and as some who loves words I really enjoy your flights of fancy , cricket and butterfly inspire wonder in you and you express it on this blog in wondrous ways Thank you Rachel.:)

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  43. Mumsy's Little Chancy Man

    What fun those sweeties had. Chancy’s new game has been squirrel poop hunting in the snow. lol Great pics sweet Rachel. Hugs and nose kisses

    Reply

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