Snowed In ~ But One Escaped

It promises to be a beautiful snow, briefly, after the sun rises and before temps do the same and the winds pick up. We got something like 8″ of powdery snow after expecting WET, and there is a big difference. The broom did a good job clearing the Subaru this morning at 4:30. A wet snow would have required the “rope saw” method to clear the front window and hood, and each shovel full three times the weight. My back was not looking forward to that!

And so at 4:45 am, the tail lights disappeared very very slowly through the pines as I watched in the dark, from our bedroom window. This is the first winter morning this year filled with this kind of simultaneous hope and dread. I’d rather be the one traveling, but I almost think staying behind is harder, not knowing where she is and if she is or isn’t still safely following the tracks of the car that hopefully already slogged down the mountain to 460. I’m figuring the trip to work will take at least an hour and a half, and am watching Google Maps traffic, checking swva511 road conditions web site and traffic updates from the same source on Twitter. [Update 6 am: she made it to the interstate. It took over an hour.]

There were more Virginia roads significantly impacted by snow and ice from this storm than any other I can remember. The entire Commonwealth got slammed by this one, but conditions are much better this morning (roads light blue) than they were late last night (roads in most of SWVA dark blue) last night. Thank you, overnight VDOT road crew! Now, come visit us on Goose Creek.

Ann commented as she left that she had enough clothes, food and water for a week in the car. Don’t laugh. Check the link below the video. Some Swedish dude lasted a lot longer than that in his snowbound car!

Before things got too wooly yesterday afternoon, our neighbor brought his Golden Retriever Jesse down for a romp. He and Tsuga were best buddies, and I think he didn’t quite make the transition that even in the same familiar pasture, he was now relating to a far smaller dog. Gandy was not wary of him and was enjoying the romp, but Jesse, who weighs close to 120, was too energetic and oblivious of the size difference, so Gandy yipped a warning a few times–not from pain, but as a signal to back off. I ended up taking her home not long this short video of their initial playtime. I don’t want her to have bad experiences that make her afraid of other dogs. We’ll do it again soon, when she has gained weight, confidence and street sense. They’ll be good buddies one day.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Your photo is gorgeous. That first dawn light sure makes everything gold. You would never know those are green pines. The water reflection makes the photo.
    I can tell that Jesse and Gandy will be great pals when Gandy gets a little bigger. That was a totally fun video. My dog is 32 pounds at 8 years. They would be great pals right now!