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.