Buffalo is known for quite a lot – chicken wings, Dyngus Day, sponge candy and of course snow. The latest batch of winter weather has brought a season’s worth of snow in less than three days. Even Buffalonians who are familiar with feet upon feet of snow, this latest storm has brought with it more snow in less time that what has ever been expected.
As I write this post, I just finished shoveling about one-third of our driveway, only for a second blast of lake effect snow at a rate of four inches an hour to start. The past few days have been spent clearing out the furnace vent to make sure there wasn’t a build up of carbon monoxide, digging for firewood to keep the fireplace going, and shoveling feet of snow off the roof.
The weather itself has been incredible. Seeing snow completely make the pool in the backyard and cars and the street disappear into white blankets of snow has been eerie. The street has been untouched and the echoes that are normally drowned out by hustle and bustle of everyday are suddenly ringing loud. Snow drifts of the roof left a cave-like opening to view the outside world. This storm has literally left an entire region at a standstill.
While I’ve been snowbound in my own home, so many Western New Yorkers were stranded on area streets and expressways – my sister being one of them (luckily she was able to get home okay). The Interstate 90 was like a valley of snow trapping vehicles and leaving people stranded with little to no fuel or food. But for the most part, with some help, many people were able to make it home safe and sound. Sadly, there have been 12 deaths because of the storm.
But this isn’t the first time Buffalo snow has left its citizens snowbound. I find the opportunity to be snowbound a blessing of sorts. Sure, after a while you can get a little stir crazy, but just sitting back and being forced to do little to nothing can sometimes be what we need. I’ve been stuck with my mom and dad, but I haven’t lost my mind – yet.
I’ve been making dinner with my mom and enjoying my dad’s famous breakfasts that I haven’t had since I was a kid. After we spend the day trying to clear out the snow we sit in the living room enjoying a fire, listening to the latest news updates and talking to one another. It’s nice to be able to stop and have a conversation with your family. My parents especially got a kick out of when I got the shovel stuck in the snow hanging off our garage roof. I thought I could knock it down by launching the shovel at the snow. But Mother Nature won again.
That’s another thing I’ve appreciated through this storm: humor. This is the fourth day that I’ve been stranded indoors and making fun of the situation has been, well, the most fun! Whether it is cracking a joke, sending a ridiculous series of snapchats, or acting like a goof getting a shovel stuck in the roof snow, making light of any situation is relieving. We could easily be worried about the storm and what is going to happen next. We were worried about making sure people we cared about were okay, but ultimately making the most of the situation and having a few laughs along the way is the best way to make life enjoyable. It certainly kept our snowbound time a little lighter and more entertaining.
Not only was it nice to kick back and have a good laugh, this storm proved to be a productive one. I’ve been able to clean and catch up on some chores, enjoy some reading and watching television, which I normally don’t have time to do. I’ve even had the time to get ahead on some big projects for my classes. Most importantly, I’ve been able to write – sitting at my computer blogging about my recent trip to D.C., random thoughts on my mind, and the blog you are reading now. This has been a great way of reminding me how much I love writing and that this is my passion. It’s way too easy to lose sight of that in the craziness of everyday life. Even when my writing is apart of my everyday life, sometimes it gets boiled down to just another task and not the fulfilling process that made me fall in love with it. But now I have to say, given the time to write when I want and how I want in the midst of being snowed in has proved to be beyond meaningful.
An unexpected blessing from this storm has been the conversations with people across the country. Through my blog, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook I’ve shared photos with people all around the country from Texas to Colorado, who are in awe of the fallen snow that has left Buffalonians with snow drifts as high as their roofs. Whether it was wishes of staying safe, or amazement at the sights of buried cars, snow drifts the size of buildings or just your normal winter shenanigans, it was a really great way to have a conversation with people I never normally would have the chance to. It’s kind of neat to have a conversation with a stranger who experiences the world in a completely different way than you. It is also pretty amazing to me the well wishes that come from complete strangers. It reassures me that no matter what our differences we all are inherently good people. We need to believe in each other more, see the potential more and care about one another more.
So while it can be scary when the words “lake effect snow” are thrown at us, and when feet of snow pile up, it can be a blessing in disguise and a fresh reminder of what really matters. It also goes to show that Buffalo can handle a little snow because it is the City of Good Neighbors. The countless stories of people coming together has always been a treasure this city prides itself on. But even if you aren’t from Buffalo, or don’t come in contact with snow often, appreciate the times when the world forces you to go into a timeout. It may be just what you need to see, understand and feel what is most important in life.