Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Big One Is Coming...Maybe

I should have taken my camera.

After a lovely dinner tonight with an old friend, the old friend's sister (with whom I was delighted to get reacquainted face-to-face after a long time apart), and a new friend (and between us, we have 20 kids--TWENTY!) :)...after that, I headed to Walmart--not because we particularly needed anything before this approaching storm hits, but because we hadn't done our regular grocery shopping for a few weeks and I "needed" to get some things (like curry powder for our dinner tomorrow night, and an extra mattress pad for the boys' beds, and diced tomatoes because we didn't have any in the cellar and I need some for the soup I have on my menu for next Wednesday, and of course, a little ice cream). :)

Even though not a single flake of snow has fallen, this area is under a winter storm warning; and in fact, I heard tonight that our governor has already declared a state of emergency for Virginia--a fact that makes my mountaineer husband shake his head in disbelief. Since everyone knows that we might get up to four feet of snow (although I still haven't heard a definitive source of that information) and since everyone fears the worst and wants to be prepared, Walmart was busy. And ransacked. I have never, ever seen it in that condition. I suppose it says a lot about how blessed my life has been that I have never seen grocery shelves bare like they were tonight. Oh, sure, there was a lot of food left in the store--I noticed plenty of sauerkraut cans stacked on the shelves, for example--but for certain items, there was nothing left. Not a loaf of bread in the bread aisle. Not a single gallon of milk. No bananas. No potatoes, sweet or otherwise. Plenty of cottage cheese left; but beside it in the sour cream spot, nothing. A lady I chatted with in the pasta aisle said there was not a bit of ground beef to be found; but since we buy a whole beef at a time and have oodles of ground beef in our freezer, I didn't have it on my list and wasn't bothered by the news. Actually, I wasn't bothered by anything. I was, however, highly amused by it all. We are such strange creatures, suddenly going into primitive survival mode and hoarding food supplies to an extent that is completely unnecessary. If all else fails during this storm, we can all hunker down in our homes and eat bread, bananas, and potatoes--three times a day--for a week, it seems!

The good thing about the Walmart experience is that everyone seemed jovial: laughing and joking about the crazy state of the store, enjoying the anticipation of a big snowfall, stopping to talk to people whom they might normally have walked right by. I didn't witness a single tense moment between anyone. Walmart, for its part, did a good job of having lots of lines open so no one had to wait too long to check out. I had Shav with me, and he slept like an angel the whole time. My sweet little buddy. I just wish I had had my camera so I could have documented the lighthearted chaos in the store and the emptiness on the shelves.

The sobering thing about all of this came to my mind tonight as I was putting away some groceries and reflecting on the seemingly silly fuss we're all making. I thought, "Someone is going to bed tonight who will die in this storm." Of course, I don't know the future; but it seems like after a big storm, we always hear reports of someone (or usually, several people) who died in a weather-related car accident or tragically froze to death or some such thing. It was a penetrating reminder for me that tomorrow is not a given. God (and God alone) holds the future; I trust His hand to work on my behalf and I trust His heart to do what is best for me, whatever that may be, so I'm not worried. But somewhere tonight, someone who will die tomorrow has no idea this is his/her last night on earth.

On a lighter note, it seems that I am incapable of stopping myself from taking pictures of the snow. It's not like we've never had snow before, and it's not like the view has changed that much from the last time! But still, every time, I have to get out my camera and try to capture the beauty I see all around me.

In this way, I was reminded of how my family used to be when we went to the beach. Every year, without exception, we found the lure of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse impossible to resist; and we held up our camera and--snap!--took a picture (or two or three) of it. Never mind the fact that at home, we probably had 50 pictures just like it!

That's how I am with the snow. "I.Must.Take.Pictures.of.the.Snow," runs unconsciously and mechanically through my head. And so I obey. :)

Last evening (or was it two evenings ago?), I noticed how, in the fading light of evening, everything outside seemed to be in shades of black and white. Despite the fact that there was green present in the pine tree and blue that remained in the sky, it all seemed black and white to me...
...except for the golden hue of the lights I saw outside. Into the black and white world came splashes of warm yellow: the lights of a truck going by on the road, lights from our neighbor's house...
...the light visible through the back door of my parents' house...
...our sidewalk lights. These splashes of color stood out much more dramatically in real life than how they appear in a picture, but at least these pictures will remind me of the impression I had as night began to fall.

Tonight I noticed how intense the blue was outside: not only was there a blue tint to the cloud-covered sky, but also the snow appeared blue. With splashes of yellow coming from the lights again, it seemed that everything was either cool blue or warm yellow.

I'm definitely looking forward to tomorrow and the next day; like everyone else, I'm wondering, "How much snow are we going to get??" I know not everyone around here feels this way; but selfishly, I hope it's a lot! :)


Sarah said...

So good to "talk" to you again! My parents got here last night from Virginia--I think they are glad they have to suffer through rain here in TN instead of the snow that is expected in VA.

Enjoy the white stuff!

Amy said...

I was at a different grocery store yesterday, and talked with a man in front of me in line. He was not buying any food for himself, it was all for his cats... However, that store was busier than I had ever seen, I couldn't even park in the main lot! I was glad to just be picking up some cleaning supplies!

Misty said...

I went to Walmart yesterday too. It was packed. I had to do our regularly scheduled grocery shopping (lol) or I would have never stepped foot in there!

Stephanie B. said...

I enjoyed your blog today. Your insights on human nature are right on. I had to chuckle at the Walmart scene, because it happen here too.

Sally said...

I am enjoying the snow. I'm not planning to go out at all today, and maybe not even at all tomorrow either. I'll wait until it's a little warmer and my children can handle being outside for more than 10 minutes.

Margie said...

I wish I'd read this before my last post! I was thinking how silly I must sound to others in farther northern states, who might scoff at a foot of snow, and for wanting more. I'm glad to know that even though you get snow every year, it's still exciting.

And your pictures are really nice - they capture the mystery that comes when the world lies beneath a deep covering of snow. How much snow did you receive?