I faced a dark night of my soul last night. Others may make fun of the hype and drama of the blizzard of the century, but being home alone in one with horses to care for out in the barn was pretty high on my list of things I’d rather avoid. My husband called me from a business trip on Sunday night to light the spark of my anxiety when he saw the weather forecast. The generator and the monster snow-blower stand at the ready in our the basement, but I’ve never had to set them up and use them all on my own. Monday morning at 6 am, I drove my daughter back to college and got home just as the snow began to fall. I’m the only one here who can take care of me, I thought. I wasn’t sure if that made sense, but it did rattle me to be in our silent house, full of nervous anticipation.
“It’s like Hurricane Sandy with snow!” one TV weatherman gleefully warned. Visions of the enormous pine tree in our front yard falling down during that disaster, and nine days without power flashed before me. I contacted my neighbor who promised to plow my driveway and a path to the barn before he leaves for Florida for a week’s vacation on Wednesday morning. I filled extra water buckets and put double the amount of hay in the horses’ stalls and asked the Native American spirits who were wintering there in my backyard to watch over them. I brought in extra firewood, found the lanterns and flashlights, and ran the dog around extra long so she would be tired enough not to want to go out again.
I decided to sleep on the couch in the living room because I have a very real fear that the old beech tree next to my bedroom might come crashing through our roof in hurricane force winds. My faithful sidekick, Stella, curled up on my feet, and the waiting began. Several times in the night, I got up to look out the window to see how bad it was. Snow was swirling in huge vortexes in the light from the front porch. The wind was howling in a high pitched whine like someone singing off-key. At 5 am, my neighbor began plowing my driveway in the dark, and I resigned myself to being awake and made a pot of coffee. An hour after he drove away, it looked like he had never been there.
Wisely, I brought a big bucket of hay into the basement yesterday, so when the sky lightened up, I dragged it upstairs and ventured out to the barn. Snow was blowing up under the hood of my parka, and it was hard to see, but the drifts were fluffy to push through. The horses had finished all their water and hay. I refilled and gave them breakfast to a chorus of “Nmmm! Mnnnnmmm!” They were so glad to see me that it made the trek worth it.
As I thaw my numb toes in front of the fire now at the end of the day, I give thanks for good neighbors who came to plow me out, a warm puppy to snuggle me, and the joy of only getting 20 inches of snow. There should be some satisfaction or pride in getting through it on my own, but instead I am simply very relieved and sleepy. As our governor, Dan Malloy, put it: “There is no bad news in not everyone getting three feet of snow.”