Blizzard of 2015

6

January 27, 2015 by Laird

Still cloudy, still breezy, but only a few inches of new snow. Other areas are getting hammered, so be careful out there.

I caught bits of the 24 hour news stations–this is an apocalypse of historic proportions, of course. My blood has thinned over the years and I’m not as impervious to cold weather as I used to be. Even during my youth when I spent 10-16 hours a day in the weather, there were moments that reminded me that our reactions to adversity are relative.

One of the most extraordinary human moments I ever witnessed happened during the 91 Iditarod. I pulled my team into Unalakleet during a whiteout. The temperature was well below zero Fahrenheit with a steady 15-20 knot wind and gusts savage enough to push you around on the ice. In the winter in Unalakleet, everything is ice or dirt. I took care of the dogs and went into a house to change some gear and fetch water. The bay window in the living room thrummed like a portal into the lowest, frozen circle of hell. Between gusts, an outline of a building appeared across the way–a school. Gradually, piece by piece, playground equipment came into focus. Little kids, bundled in snowsuits and parkas, were having recess. Another big gust came off the Norton Sound and buried them again.

Here is a photo of me with the team in Unalakleet that day.

001AJ AA0029 001image via AlaskaStockImage

6 thoughts on “Blizzard of 2015

  1. Kirk says:

    Love the story. Kids can sometimes seem to be the most resilient of all.

    Down south here it’s 40 F this morning. Somewhat chilly for these parts, even in January. Last week it was mid 60s and lower 70s. We get a dusting of snow every 5 to 10 years.

  2. Laird says:

    Rural kids are tough. Are you in Florida?

    • Kirk says:

      Yes they are. Less snow and ice and more clay, creeks, and barbed wire where I grew up.

      I live on the coast of SC now (not far from Florida), but I was raised closer to the mountains.

  3. Laird says:

    “more clay, creeks, and barbed wire where I grew up.” That’s a great line.

  4. I love that image of the kids playing at recess in the blizzard. Surreal and beautiful.

  5. rghsfw says:

    Reminds me of the Shetlands/Orkneys stories out there about it having to get to seventy billion below before school’s cancelled. The phrase “mandatory fun” also comes to mind.

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