It may have come to your attention that it is, you know, winter. There’s a certain little detail of winter weather that people either love or hate, and I may have alluded to it in the title of this post. As for myself, I adore the stuff; it blots out the sins of the world in a sheet of dazzling white. Of course, then it melts and re-freezes and turns gray and black, gritty and marginalized, being run over. The more I write about it, the more snow seems like a metaphor for life. Alors.
At any rate, I came down to spend a week or so with my mother, last night. One of the principal reasons that I wanted to – quite apart from the rapidly approaching holiday – was that there was a severe warning of coming snow, and Maman is amazingly fun to be snowed in with. That is to say, before cabin fever sets in.
For example, a year or two ago, Mama was on a blind date in December. When the waitress brought the check, she also brought a warning about imminent winter precipitation. Ma rushed straight home, only stopping to pick up a half-gallon of whiskey. When I pointed out that her first reaction was to stock up on the booze, she replied “Would you really want to be trapped here with me for a week sober?” It was clear that she meant it as a mutual thing.
It so happens that the power went out while I was there, that year. Her home was heated by a pellet stove, which runs on electricity, and since my father passed away, her generator gently rots away in its shed. Therefore, when the nasty snow came and knocked out the electricity, it was left to me to wall in the sides of her veranda with decorative blankets, arrange some furniture out there, split some wood, and build a fire in the brazier. We knocked back Manhattans and told salacious stories about our rotten love affairs, and I can’t count how many packs of cigarettes we went through.
Last winter, the ex-husband, a very dear friend of ours that I’ll refer to here as K, and myself, decided to host a dinner party. Most of the guests made it home just fine, but the two inches of snow or so stranded some of my favorite people here.
I happened to have one of the portable-speaker things that hooks up to your mp3 player, and the conversation, cocktails, and wisecracks lasted late into the night. We managed to cobble together a passable fire-cooked soup from the leftovers the next day, which was long, languid, and lovely.
Snow, to my mind, seems to force conviviality in close quarters with those whom we might not ordinarily share such circumstances, and is, therefore, one of my favorite aspects of the dark part of year.