The Inuit people, it’s been said, have more than a hundred words to describe snow. There are words describing snow that falls in large or small flakes, blowing snow and even a word for remembered snow.
The Inuit, it’s believed, don’t have a phrase translated as “bomb cyclone.”
For the past two weeks some Islanders have also had lots of words for snow, none printable here.
The majority of opinions on the subject seemed to be drifting toward the cranky camp of the fed up, and away from the bemused, starry-eyed lovers of all things white, wet and falling.
In addition to providing us with endless small talk openings to more substantial conversations, the heavy snow, temperatures in the teens and winds making it feel like January in Norway were endured by Islanders (mostly) with good grace.
We tip our caps to the Highway Department crews led by Superintendent Jay Card Jr. for keeping roads cleared and thank PSEG crews who worked long hours this past summer and autumn to clear branches and limbs near power lines.
Thanks go to Police Chief Jim Read who, as the town’s emergency manager coordinator, kept the situation under control. His department worked with highway crews answering every call to Emergency Medical Services, clearing paths so our lifesavers could have access to houses.
Many things look better in retrospect, and so a few words are in order to speak of the splendor of snow. The beauty, for those with eyes to see, is undeniable.
There’s nothing like a snowfall to transform known, taken-for granted sights — from landscapes to a mundane building’s roof — into something renewed, bringing fresh perspectives on the ordinary. Sunlight literally sparkles. And it’s not just about sights either, since snowfalls perform alchemy with sounds — hushed, yet clear.
Remind us of that when we’re digging driveways out and then de-shrouding cars, cranking empty, useless RPMs while rocking and wrecking transmissions from reverse to drive, digging tires deeper into the cold, wet stuff sent for only one purpose, to cast misery down upon us.
Did I say cold? And wet?
Winter is not over by a long shot, but so far so good. Or so far so terrible, depending on your point of view. But then, we should always strive to be people with eyes to see.