The Unexpected, Unwanted Arrival of Winter

Winter has descended on the Black Hills like an anvil on Wile E. Coyote.

I didn’t think I’d have any complaining to do about the weather this year. It has been an absolutely breathtaking fall. There was no freeze in Septemer to kill my pumpkins. In fact, it hadn’t dropped below 40 – even overnight – a single time yet. A startling majority of the trees are still covered with green leaves, like somehow they didn’t get the “Fall has started” memo.

Last Tuesday we must have hit 70 degrees. I was outside in a skirt and short-sleeved shirt having a really lovely day. I opened all the windows in my house and stuck my blanket on the back porch to air out. A few sad-looking wasps were even buzzing around back there. (They did get the Fall memo, they were just trying to ignore it.) I rearranged my bountiful pumpkin plants to maximize their exposure to the sun, the better to make them orange and tasty.

Wednesday was cool but sunny. Thursday was cold but sunny.

Friday: blizzard. Wham smack bam! Four inches of snow in Lead, a couple inches in Deadwood, and even snow in my backyard. I Twittered on Thursday that I had “decided to be ready for snow, just in the nick of time,” but when Friday arrived, it turned out I was wrong.

It isn’t supposed to happen this way, you see? We’re supposed to start having chilly days for awhile, then the sky gets overcast and it drizzles now and then. This gives the trees a chance to come to grips with losing their leaves in a dignified fashion. The smell of wood smoke begins wafting in on the evening breeze. There is apple cider and kids jumping in piles of leaves and turkeys in the oven.

Then, one morning as we drive up to work, we’re supposed to notice that the drizzle is actually coming down in chunks, and I say “ah, it’s trying to snow.” Later that week, I’ll be humming along at work, happily wrapped up in a warm sweater, when I’ll look at the window and giant, fluffy flakes will be coming down for the first time. “Ah!” I’ll say. “Now it’s really snowing!” And I’ll be happy because the weather, which was becoming increasingly dreary, is finally providing some payoff for all that cold and gloom.

Not 70 degrees on Tuesday and 4 inches of snow on Friday. Booo! (And not “I’m a ghost!” boo, I mean “Toss ’em to the lions” boo.)

There’s snow in the forecast all weekend. 9-13″ in Deadwood. Gaah! I’m not sure what I can do to come to grips with this. Wear fuzzy pajama pants around the house all weekend will be a start. If anyone else has any coping strategies, let me know.

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2 thoughts on “The Unexpected, Unwanted Arrival of Winter

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