Georgia, as well as 48 other states, has been hit by what has been affectionately termed Snowpocalypse 2011. As our friends in Florida enjoy balmy climes, people in downtown Atlanta (aka Hothlanta) have ice skated on Peachtree Street and watched all those tv shows they’ve been meaning to catch up on. Like any born and bred Southerner I stocked up and bunkered in once someone clued me into the weather report (I tend to work/play with blinkers on for days) even though I knew it was possible the threat of snow might come to nothing. Eight inches of the fluffy white stuff later I was snug with firewood, banana sandwiches and two excited cats. Inevitably the 51% of Georgia residents who have moved here from other states began railing against the weather and the state’s inability to clear the roads fast enough to prevent inconvenience and finding the natives completely unsympathetic to their plight. We know the drill and it’s no big deal.
Personally, I hate snow. Being a Southerner I am not used to it. I can appreciate it’s beauty for awhile but I mainly find it cold and wet. That said, there is something magical about being snowed in. The Southeastern United States has a reputation for being a little slower, a little more laid-back and a little less stressed. We have a reputation for hospitality, quirkiness and rolling with the punches. Lately though that’s been changing. Atlanta has grown fast, it’s suburbs sprawling LA-style across what used to be old farmland. Everything within at least a 50 mile radius of downtown is part of the Greater Metro Area with suburbs sprouting up beyond that. The traffic is horrendous, as any truck driver will tell you. The influx of residents from other parts of the country has sped up the city and changed it’s tenor.
That is, until it snows. When it snows we all relax. The city is quiet. People spend time with their families. No one worries about work or school, or at least most of us don’t. We marvel in the miracle and attempt to sled, sometimes over snow so scant that you end up sliding across wet rocks and mud. We check on neighbors, and the more adventurous among us pull out the 4WD and see how far we can go. We drink coffee, make pancakes and sometimes we make snowcream: a frozen “icecream” concocted from pure, undisturbed virgin snow. We actually wear gloves and hats and scarves. It’s magic.
Generally this only lasts an afternoon but the current Snowpocalypse has us in limbo a bit longer than usual. We haven’t had a snow like this since perhaps the early 90′s. We are enthralled. We are quiet. We are reflective. Weather like this is a gift from the Gods to remind us to slow down, relax, marvel, wonder and play. We too often forget the wonder, beauty and at time quite frightening power of nature. Nothing quite gets your attention like 8 inches of snow in “Hotlanta”.
This is what winter is about. It’s not about scurrying. It’s not about presents. It’s not about being stressed out over holiday nonsense. It’s about embracing the quiet and the cold. Being crafty with our hands. Enjoying spending time with our families. Thanking the Gods and the earth for the uncommon beauty.
And just maybe, geeking out a little bit.