It had been a long day home alone with the kids. School was canceled hours before the snow had begun to fall. RM had been stimming excessively for days as the barometric pressure dropped and she took to grounding herself over every single task. I was mentally exhausted as any parent would be. Carrying a nearly 60-pound child to the bathroom when they refuse to go takes a bit of energy.
SGM was released early and on his way home by 4pm. [Side note: That has NEVER happened before, so I thank the heavens for this small miracle. Usually, he is gone for days whenever severe weather strikes the state.]
I went about my ritual of tidying up around the house knowing I had just over an hour before SGM walked through the door. Same as every day, I use three Clorox wipes to clean the bathroom sink, knobs and toilet. Then I replace hand towels throughout the house with fresh ones, I empty and refill our humidifiers, I put my coffee mug and spoon in the dishwasher, I brush my teeth, and if there is enough time remaining before SGM gets home, I put on a little makeup.
Because the roads were already slicked up, it was taking SGM a lot longer to get home. This was hard for me. Not because I worried that he wouldn’t make it home safely, I never worry about that, but because it was straying from my expected timeline of events. It was very agitating. I knew that I needed to find something calming to do before I got too upset. So I bundled up and went outside thinking some shoveling would be a quick session of heavy work to calm my nerves. As I was starting the first run of the shovel across the asphalt, I caught a glimpse of our neighbor next door. Instant panic set in because I knew a conversation was coming but I hadn’t seen or spoken to this neighbor in more than a month. What would he say? Would he want to catch up? Could I just keep shoveling and maybe he won’t say anything at all?
He yelled over, “Hey there! How’s it going?” I cannot describe the wave of nauseous terror that washed over me in that instant, and I like this guy. This is a neighbor I feel very comfortable around. Some nights in the summer he comes and sits out front with SGM and me and we all chat and have a few glasses of wine. But this, this is different. This is unexpected and one-on-one with no buffer to carry the conversation when I don’t know what to say. It was ugly. I won’t bore you with the conversation, but it ended on a note of whose snow blower is bigger. Awkward!
After the exchange, I quickly shoveled the two inches of snow that had fallen so far on the driveway and sidewalks. It didn’t take too long, the snow was light and the heavy work was just what I needed to regulate my nerves. I felt much better.
Not long after, SGM came home and we made it through the dinner hour. RM was doing ok, but The Boy was chattier than usual and I just felt completely overloaded with noise for the day. So, regardless of a blizzard or hurricane or tsunami washing over the Connecticut shoreline, I was going for a walk alone no matter what. With my weighted vest. Damnit.
Watching me prepare for a nighttime walk in the snow would drive anyone to drink. I noticed SGM had a glass of wine going at this point. I need so many small items that I have a difficult time gathering everything up and getting ready to go. I try to leave most items in the same place together, but things like my iPod and headphones are quickly separated throughout the day. Finally, armed with my weighted vest, iPod, headphones, headlamp, balaclava, gloves, reflective sash, inhaler and cell phone, I headed out into the blizzard. Well, almost. I forgot to grab my boots. On Take 16 or so, I set about into the night.
There was about six inches of snow when I left the house at 7:05pm. Plows had not made it to most of the streets lining the neighborhood. I have particular routes I like to take, especially at night. I like the quiet at night. I like that there are no faces to see. Even passing cars in the daytime you can see the faces, and I always have to look at the faces. But at night, I am free from that. No one else about. Just me, my thoughts, and my music.
The first few moments alone, in the dark, feeling the gentle squeeze of my weight vest and the compression of my thermal base layers against my legs and arms, I feel weightless. I liken it to space-walking. As the minutes go by and I wander further from home, I think to myself how magical it must feel to just lie down in the deep pillows of the crisp, white, sparkling snow and just be. Wrapped in nothingness and silent. Just for a spell.
Then the soft trickling of a nearby run-off catches my attention and I follow its song. I come upon the edge of the water and I stare. Even in the darkness I can see every twist and fold of the water as it slides over the frozen rocks below. And I think how soothing for those rocks.
I am jealous.
But it is time for me to keep walking.
My cell phone rings. SGM wants to know I am ok. It has been more than an hour.
The snow is now nearly a foot deep now and my beautiful family is waiting for me to come home.