Tranquility for Some

Hello from North Haven!

One thing I was excited for, moving back to Maine from Boston, was snow. Pristine blankets of white, blank slates ready to be etched with ski tracks or snowshoe prints, sparkling under a cloudless sky after a quiet storm.

Our first island winter was surprisingly mild, but subsequent years yielded pleasing amounts of snow. We bushwhacked through the woods behind our house, surprising ourselves when we popped out in Mullins Head Park, or in our neighbor’s field. The winter of 2014/2015 was particularly epic in terms of snowfall, and I enjoyed putting my then-infant daughter on my back and trudging around in snowshoes while she peered out of her snowsuit.

This winter, like last year’s, has been a little too snowless for my liking. While my parents in central Maine are encased in several frozen feet, we had bare ground and torrential rain for most of the last month and a half. My in-laws, who came out for Christmas and Chanukah from San Diego, didn’t get the White Christmas I had lured them out with.

Yesterday we finally got the blissful, silent, windless snowfall of my dreams. It began in overnight, and when I got my daughter out of bed she had been awake for a while, watching the flakes fall past her bedroom window. The trees were laced with white, and while the grass still poked through the snow, it was reassuringly chilly outside and I didn’t worry that the precipitation would change over to rain or worse, some sort of sludge.

It kept on snowing all morning, and I watched it accumulate out the windows of my classroom when I wasn’t occupied with students. My heart swelled with good ol’ Maine sentiment. I felt tranquility enter me in a way that hadn’t happened, if I had to estimate, since November 9.

Meanwhile, downtown, an unexpected drama was playing out. One of our two town plow trucks, in a grand final gesture, burst into flame. The driver, one of our valiant road crew, was able to get out unscathed, and fire and EMS responded quickly, but the truck is (literally) toast. Across the island, a front-end loader went off the road and into a pond avoiding a truck slipping on the unplowed road. Again, everyone is fine, but that’s a lot of excitement for one day out here.

 

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photo by Aaron Cabot, who luckily got out of there quickly! Used with permission.

Ordinarily, a few inches of fluffy dry white stuff might mean a few hours work for the road crew plowing and sanding. And even with the one truck blazing away, blocking traffic up Smith Street, everything was passable by school dismissal at 3 – another perk of island living.

Snow means something very different to me, watching from my warm house or classroom, than to the people who are tasked with keeping the roads clear and safe for cars, trucks and the school bus, just as a delicious restaurant meal means something different to the customer than to the chef or the dishwasher. So, here’s my public thank you to the road crew. Thanks for everything you do on every snowy winter day that lets my family and I enjoy the snow, shovel our walk together, make tracks in the yard, and get home safely every single time.

Courtney Naliboff

About Courtney Naliboff

In addition to this blog, I'm a contributing writer to kveller.com, a Jewish parenting site, a blogger and book reviewer for reformjudaism.org, and the author of Salt Water Cure, a column in Working Waterfront. I report news from North Haven for Working Waterfront and Island Journal, and was a speaker at the Maine Conference for Jewish Life in 2015. Follow Frozen Chosen on facebook or visit my Web site for more writing and free music to download!