Cold weather brings Mother Nature’s playful pranks

December 22, 2019

Just when you thought it was safe to go into the water, just when you thought it was safe to go down to the fruit cellar, your calendar stops you dead in your tracks with one word: Winter. It’s the first day and you have to remember, this is the season when Mother Nature will open her bag of tricks and pull out her record-breaking weather, be it blizzard snow or Nanook of the North temperatures. We seem to have dodged a lot of her bullets lately, but don’t turn your back now. 

Living near the ocean, we know what Mother Nature is capable of and respect her enough to get out of the way. A couple of years ago, she sneezed and doused the area with a couple of feet of the white stuff – not good for a city with one snowplow and a missing set of keys for the truck. 

Snow more often than not turns into a problem; at first fall, it is a Currier and Ives picture postcard, dressing the trees in a white coating, but it can quickly turn into a call more like, “Run for the hills!”

Growing up in New England, we had our fair share of blizzards, yet we never panicked. We simply went to bed and woke up the next morning to snow up to the windows. School was rarely canceled, since everyone walked there anyway, and who would want to miss the chance to throw that line-drive snowball at our nemesis, even if it was a teacher – accidentally, of course. If school was cancelled, we took to the outside as soon as we could pry the door open and burrow out to the sidewalk. 

I can remember the back hall was always full of wet snowsuits lying on the floor next to dripping snow boots and sopping-wet mittens. No one dared venture into the house without making that stop. The smell of scarves toasting on the radiators or heating vents was a given. 

And we never made a run on the grocery stores before the storm. We rarely listened to the radio anyway. There was no media round-the-clock television hype; we simply coped with whatever Mother Nature threw at us.  Back then, everyone had pantries and basements stocked to the hilt for the next Armageddon or family reunion, whichever came first. 

More and more we are seeing what the weather forecasters call the Perfect Storm. It’s when two systems collide, and very often it’s hard to predict. Trying to understand it is sort of like when you are instructed to put on those gowns on in the medical dressing room before an exam or an x-ray.  Most of the time you end up putting your head through the armhole, arms through the opening for the head and then you are all twisted up in a bunch of material that doesn’t fit right, with an extra flap hanging off the back. No one knows where those extra ties are supposed to be; they must wrap around something, but you’re just not sure it’s you.

Snow is not the only thing we experience around here. One good bolt of lightning, and it’s crawling room only under the bed. Between the dogs and the other pets, you need to book well in advance for a spot.

And Mother Nature likes her howling winds off the water. As a cancer survivor, I never bothered wearing a wig. I learned my lesson the first time I tried it. A gusty wind that I normally would ignore blew it right onto a car’s windshield, where the driver tried to beat it with a stick, no doubt thinking it was some kind of rodent. 

But we do have something that Mother Nature never counted on while plotting her weather tricks – dedicated transportation workers, neighbors, kind strangers and volunteers. Of course, it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature, either. So, man up for the beginning of the winter.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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