It started snowing in earnest yesterday afternoon. The project team was out to lunch. We watched it fall outside the window. It blew in, white like the sky. It didn’t stick. The temperature hovered around 34 degrees. We drove back to work, a little excited, like gradeschool kids hoping for a reprieve from school, watching and waiting.
I dug back into editing a Board briefing. I’ve been working with the newest interim director for our department. The old one lasted about 6 weeks. He wanted to retire for real.
“Hey, you need to look outside,” my co-worker said, poking her head in the door. “The flakes have changed.”
We know rain up in here. We know the difference between showers, drizzle, downpours, sprinkles, mist and my personal favorite “mizzle”. Snow is a whole different animal. We get a little giddy. Snow is like the cute boy we crushed on in high school, but never dated. He was out of our league. So when he shows up on our doorstep, all white and dazzling, we swoon a little. It’s magical.
I stepped to the back door. Peering out the window, the flakes were monstrous. And piling up. The state, also located in Olympia, closed its campus at noon to let workers get home before the roads got too dangerous. I wondered what to do. Our department director cancelled our monthly cross-divisional meeting and said we could go home if we liked. But we’d have to use our leave time to cover it. The County would remain open.
(“Doot, doot, doot, lookin’ out my back door…” Methinks the garbage cans only add to the back-door ambiance.)
“You should go home, Susan,” one of the project managers urged. “You have a long commute.” His face mirrored his concern.
I sort of love these people. I only live about 23 miles away from Olympia. It’s not that bad. Others drive all the way from Tacoma, near the storm’s epicenter. I didn’t really have enough leave time to justify going. I said as much.
“I will talk to our director. I will donate some of my time,” the project manager volunteered. He strode out the door.
I was touched. He wasn’t able to do it, as I didn’t qualify for shared leave, as a snowstorm isn’t considered an illness or injury. I loved the sentiment, however.
I peered outside again. At least an inch covered the parking lot. Olympia was getting slammed. The toughest part would be getting out of the residential areas and onto the highway. I figured 101 would still be okay due to steady traffic.
I decided to leave. I would take the vacation hour hit and get out of Dodge. Hiking out to the 2 inches of snow already down, I found this.
The parking lot only held about 1/3 of the usual amount of cars. I brushed the snow off the windows and doors and climbed in. I gingerly made my way to the parking lot exit, sliding a little. I eased out onto the road. Up ahead, cars blocked the intersection. Bumper to bumper, they lined the entire street. I inched along, trying to be patient. It took 45 minutes to get to the first light, about 7/10 of a mile away. Cars moved aside for those entering or exiting the main drag. It heartened me, the grace and kindness showed by my fellow commuters. We all had the same hive goal: get home in one piece.
Once I reached the highway, it was smooth sailing. I breathed a prayer of thanks as I motored home. Just before Mason County, a bright spot in the sky appeared to my left. The sun was trying to burn through the cloud-cloth covering. As I continued to drive northwest, the snow turned to light rain. Just after entering Mason County, it turned into blowing snow again. Shelton had less snow than Olympia. Seems it had started up again when I hit town.
Today, it continues. We’re up to 2-3 inches, with more on the way until late this afternoon.
I threw balls to Dakota this morning in the darkness. City grit trucks powered up and down the road. The snow cast an eerie glow. Flakes danced and glittered under the streetlights as they floated to earth. Drifts sparkled under porchlights. We lost balls, then found them again. Snow caked on the tennis balls. Dakota couldn’t grip them well. She ate the snow, licking it off, then mouthed them again.
It’s been an emotional week, a rollercoaster. Right now, though, it’s very quiet. It’s time to switch gears. Time to spend time with family, doing things around the house. Ruby returns from a youth conference later today. Praying for the safety of all those people, and a continued infilling of the Holy Spirit. I know the Lord will use this time for the best. Even as plans get cancelled and our immediate options dwindle, He is still good. He still makes beautiful things. Let this enforced rest restore us for what comes next.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28