When ice turns into vapor without melting first, it’s called sublimation. I wonder what it’s called when millions of Americans murmur a collective complaint, our breath huffing out in white clouds, which waft upward, merge, and dump deathflakes on us. Again.
Snowpocalypse. Snowmaggedon. Snowzilla. Snoverkill. Call it what you will, I am weary of it. The polar vortex has overstayed its welcome. The tundra called and it wants its weather back. All the pots of boiling water that are going to be tossed have been tossed.
Last week every time my husband read the weatherman’s prophecy, I sang “Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie. This week, it’s not working. I’m in danger of whining.
It’s not the cold.
I am tired of donning and offing extra piles of clothing and footwear all day long as I come and go, so I guess it is the cold. But I can ice skate or cross-country in 14 degrees and work up to warm.
It’s not the snow itself. Here’s a picture of the snowheap my daughter and I excavated out of the latest school-closing foot. I would call it a snowman, but the powder wasn’t sticky enough for traditional three-ball construction. Instead we dug a trench around a slightly packed pile and stuck a baseball cap on it. I can still have fun in the snow.
It’s the snowscape. There is nowhere that I walk or drive where I am not hemmed in by white walls, ranging from thigh-high to well over my head. When I shovel the driveway (again), the tossed snow slides back onto my boots. I’m afraid these mountains will never melt and we’ll be trapped in the trenches forever. Trench fever has set in.
And as I said, my trench fever is in danger of exploding into trench mouth. Instead of complaining, I’d like to suggest that someone write us a scifi/f story that’s set in a snowpocalypse.
It should start with Jesus’ desolating sacrilege passages: “Pray that it may not be in winter. For in those days there will be suffering, such as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, no, and never will be” (Mark 13:17–18 NRS).
It could be a climate change conspiracy, where the government refuses to acknowledge the evidence the academy presents and it dawns (too slowly) on the citizens that something is going dangerously wrong with their planet. Too late! In their panic, citizens devour one another. The church is complicit.
Nevermind. Not fictitious enough.
Instead, here are fourteen frozen fictions that might distract us from trench fever and so prevent trench mouth.
1. Frozen, Disney’s movie. * This week I’ll sing “Here I stand in the light of day. Let the storm rage on. The cold never bothered me anyway.”
2. “To Build a Fire,” Jack London’s 1908 short story. * It presents the ultimate cause for gratitude: I haven’t frozen to death yet.
4. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer * It’s a page-turner, a perfect storm of miscalculations and malfunctions on Everest, the epicenter of cold, snow, and storm. On the other hand, it may not be fictitious enough either.
5. The Day After Tomorrow. * A man battles the perfect snowstorm to save his son, after which we all appreciate the southern hemisphere. Perhaps we shouldn’t wait until retirement to move there.
6. Frozen: Heart of Dread by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston, a YA novel set in a frozen Los Vegas. * It’s still a den of iniquity; it’s just colder. Will they find a way out? “No temptation has overtaken us that is not common to man. God will provide the way of escape (1 Cor 10:13 RSV). One reviewer calls it, “As fearless as a futuristic Game of Thrones.”
7. Or you could just watch HBO’s Game of Thrones. * If you can wait until April 6, “Winter Is Coming” comes back. However, this year the theme is “Valar Morghulis,” which is to say, “It is appointed unto men once to die” (Heb 9:27 KJV). Unless The Others take you. Or you could read it: Song of Ice and Fire is the original series by George R. R. Martin.
8. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, an allegory for salvation in Christ. * “It’s always winter but never Christmas.”
9. Ice Age. * Funny and you can watch it with your children, sort of, if they don’t freak out over suspense scenes. Mine does. We watched it anyway.
10. “Worth of Crows,” a short story by Seth Dickinson in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, 104. * His economy of words verges on poetry. What bargains do you strike with Death?
11. Snowmaggedon. * There’s actually a made-for-TV movie with this title, about which one reviewer said, “There’s nothing particularly thrilling or dangerous about this ‘snowmaggedon.’” Might make us appreciate God’s version better, which is to say with awe instead of griping (Ps 147:16–17).
12. The Caradhras passage in “The Ring Goes South,” The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien. * This is the reason we love Boromir. If you’ve lost count of how many times you’ve read The Lord of the Rings, just reread the few pages concerning the Redhorn Gate. If you haven’t read JRRT, then there’s no time like the present snowpocalpse.
13. “I Met the Abominable Snowman: A True Story” by George Moore (1957). * It wouldn’t be winter without a yeti story, but as my daughter says about the dinosaurs, why aren’t there yeti in the Bible?
14. Fargo. * Because if snowpocalypse is bad where you are, it’s gotta be worse in North Dakota. If where you are is North Dakota, I defer to you. The next snowmaggedon suggestion is all yours.