February 08, 2003

God Speed, l'il Suburu

When satellites from space look down at the lights of civilization across eastern America, there are few dark patches, even within the realm of the Southern Appalachians. Our place here in southwest Virginia, however, is one of those dark patches. And it is into that darkness that Ann has just driven, tires eerily muffled by two more unexpected inches of downy snow overnight, snow on snow. It is 5:30 on a Saturday morning and her tracks will be the first, so there is only the precipice of the narrow roadside to guide her.

I'm doing some reading and writing offline, in case she calls, which is unlikely; and practically impossible for the worst part of her travel to work. Cell phones are worthless until you are about 5 miles from here, until you get out of the deep canyons and reach the broad open valley. Between here and there, fewer than a dozen widely spaced farmhouses could give her emergency shelter, and at this hour, they offer no light or motion or solace. It will take her up to an hour and a half to drive the 26 miles to the hospital. She will be late when she gets there and a score of 'urgent' problems will confront her before she has her coat off, and she will forget to call and tell me she is okay.

It's going to be another long, slow mid-winter morning.

UPDATE 6:45 a.m. MommaBear just called from work. Once again, she crossed that magic line where the White Witch ended her work, that quarter mile of road where snow abruptly disappears and the roads act like nothing ever happened. It's almost always the same stretch of road, our meteorological lesson that reveals the workings of our unique microclimate in this piece of the world. Soon we will see it in the presence or absence, abruptly, of certain mountain wildflowers that don't venture down into the valley... too warm for them there, but only by perhaps fractions of a degree... the same nuance of temperature that now makes morning snows melt as if by magic.

Posted by fred1st at February 8, 2003 06:10 AM | TrackBack

Saying a prayer for Ann right now, Fred.

Posted by: Da Goddess at February 8, 2003 06:30 AM

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