Communal

When the sun comes up on these clear mornings, the sky behind the snowcovered trees tints palest tangerine. There’s a beautiful stillness in a frozen world.

Daybreak in the Arctic Vortex

Daybreak in the Arctic Vortex

Something about going through an extreme weather event is lovely in its communal nature. For the second day we are snowed in. We can’t drive out of our alley, and any outings on foot are necessarily short because of extreme wind chills.

So we’ve been keeping tabs on the goings-on in our little burg via a Facebook neighbors’ group.

The dangerous cold and deep snow have given us a glimpse of just how neighborly people are in our quirky neighborhood. I have seen many a plea for help go answered, and many an unsolicited offer appear. Just now someone offered to pick up items on her way home from work if anyone is in dire need. Earlier there was a shout-out to “the awesome guy driving a Caterpillar bobcat and helping people dig out their cars from the aftermath of the plows.”

Someone even asked for—and got—advice on how to get her dog to do his business in this brutal weather. I didn’t read the entire thread, but apparently it was a hoot, discussing canine toileting habits in great detail.

People are offering safe havens, rides to emergency rooms and shelters, and space heaters for those whose furnaces are on the blink. They’re doing for each other in large and small ways—taking baked goods over, walking each other through the crises of burst pipes and power outages, helping everyone feel less alone.

I’m sure this behavior is replicated in many places, much of it never posted anywhere. I didn’t post that the fellow on the corner shoveled not just his walk but the neighbor’s between us, and the guy on the alley behind us helped clear our driveway, but they did, and I thank them.

Dangerous and beautiful

Dangerous and beautiful

Even though I’m tired of being clenched up from cold, tired of the worry over potentially losing power or the furnace konking out (again), part of me relishes these days, both for the astonishing view out my window and for the weird conviviality online.

Part of me wants to put off snowmelt, with its godawful mud and piles of blackened leftover snow. Part of me never wants this communal experience to end.

3 thoughts on “Communal

  1. You are a lucky girl. Most neighborhoods I fear are more like mine where not many know each other and rarely even acknowledge one another. That was the extent of my dealings with the neighbors – a couple comments about the snow or cold. I am most of the problem in that I don’t reach out, I know. My father-in-law up the street does reach out to his neighbors and has some good relationships as you note but it’s his vigilant efforts over long time that have created this hospitality. Looking forward to full-time MN someday soon… we have better relations with our neighbors up there and we’re only there such a short time each year.

  2. Sounds like a neighborhood ripe for some sort of club or social group, or maybe just a Crimewatch group. My neighborhood has tons of clubs and groups, and our Crimewatch has turned into a major driver for all kinds of projects.

  3. Pingback: The Other Face of Facebook | Shawndra Miller

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