It’s 5:14 p.m. on Thursday, February 7, and the sun is setting on our mixed, gritty, enduring Boston suburb. I see streaks of orange in the darkening sky behind the rooftops and bare trees on the opposite side of the street. An occasional car passes by. It all looks so calm now as nighttime approaches. The day was cold but sunny, and the wind was light.
But tomorrow, a monster is coming.
All day the newscasters have been talking about the blizzard that is set to pummel Boston with up to 24 inches of snow. Mayor Menino appeared at a press conference earlier in the day and announced that all Boston Public Schools will be closed. A slew of other schools and businesses followed suit. Supermarket parking lots filled up with cars as residents stocked up on food and prepared to hunker down in their houses. Comparisons are being made to the Blizzard of ’78, which paralyzed the city for days.
Two years ago the city was hit with one snowstorm after another for six straight weeks in a row. But since then the winters have been relatively quiet; last year we were almost snow-free. This year has seen a few light snowfalls but nothing really significant. Tomorrow all of that is expected to change.
It’s funny, this build-up of excitement, this preparing for the worst. No one wants anything really bad to happen of course, but there’s something about the way everyone bands together to meet a storm that gets the adrenaline pumping in what could almost be called a celebratory way.
For me, it’s all about the white stuff, the snow. I’ve been cross-country skiing a few times this year, but this sounds like it will be the first opportunity in a long time to enjoy some really good powder. Our snowshoes are also lined up and ready to go. Ever since I left Colorado almost ten years ago I’ve missed the long winters of playing in the snow.
But this blog is about writing and reading, right? So I’ve also got my Kindle ready with Tana French’s third mystery, Broken Harbor, as well as the latest anthology of The Best American Short Stories, which I downloaded for $1.99 when Amazon was having a special sale. And I’ve got my latest personal essay to wrestle with — at the moment it’s topping 7000 words, and I imagine it will be significantly shorter by the time I cut away some of the sections that I’ll decide I don’t need.
The essay is about my time here on Friend Street, but as I glance out the window now I can no longer see the street at all. The sun is down, the sky is almost black, and all that’s left between now and tomorrow’s storm is one long, dark, cold winter’s night.