Wintry Weather

The afternoon of very light snow flurries faded to an early evening of just cloudy skies. Forecasters had predicted light snow, so I was disappointed to see only a light dusting on the driveway, sidewalks, and street. Northeast Nebraska has effectively been in a drought this winter. More than a dusting of snow would have been a relief.

After slipping into my barn coat and a cap, I picked up a straw broom and headed out the back door of the house. It seemed like a good idea to sweep the light snow off of my concrete areas. I had not turned on any exterior lights because I wanted to enjoy the ambience of the winter night. There was reflected light from the nearby streetlight, so I was able to see well enough to sweep.

After clearing the few snowflakes away from the front steps, I studied the sky for a few moments. One could describe it as mostly cloudy, but there were a few stars visible directly overhead. That, coupled with the crisp air, brought a glad smile to my face. After all, winter is my favorite season.

Cleaning the walks required perhaps five minutes or so. The driveway would require much more time, but that’s OK. When there is only a fine coating of snow, I have an effective technique. First I quickly brush left to right down the center of the driveway. When I reach the street curb, I sweep the west portion of snow to the right onto the yard. Then reaching the garage, I sweep the east portion of snow to the right to the other part of the yard. Because of the late hour, I purposely took extra time so as to enjoy more of the outdoors and to ponder the wonders of winter weather.

Many of the residents of Northeastern Nebraska are fond of grousing about the weather, particularly winter weather. I suppose people need to have something to grumble about. (I mainly gripe about summer because heat and humidity don’t agree with my body.) Meanwhile, winter brings out my best nature. Yes, I respect its potential to strand and kill; yet mindfulness regarding the outdoors is always wise, regardless of the season.

At its most extreme, Norfolk, Nebraska winter weather can change quickly. The air temperature in the morning could be a relatively balmy 63 Fahrenheit (17 Celsius). By noon, an arctic front may begin working its way through the area to eventually bring us minus-20 Fahrenheit (-29 Celsius) within only a few hours. The change is accompanied by stiff northwesterly winds and possibly a small amount of snow. This is why it is smart to always bring a coat, cap, and gloves (plus, maybe boots) along in the car, even during a mild winter day. You never really know how accurate the meteorolgists will be regarding the short-term forecasts. In any case, it pays to be prepared for the worst Mother Nature can dish out.

What I still cannot fully comprehend is the habit some young men have of wearing cargo shorts or gym shorts outdoors during severely cold weather. Do they not own a pair of jeans or warm dungarees? They probably become acclimated to bare legs in winter. As for myself, I once experimented by wearing a pair of cargo shorts outdoors on a moderately cold afternoon. I soon became chilled to the bone and was on the verge of developing two cramped legs. I could barely wait to slip into a comfy pair of blue jeans.

Halfway through brushing the light snow from the driveway, I paused to study the neighborhood and the sky. I remembered what one of my former science teachers said about weather systems. He said that basically, they are the planetary atmosphere’s natural heat engines. He stressed that just as in all heat engines, they are affected not strictly by temperatures, but by the differences in temperature between one area and another. This is why we receive strong winds with the passage of frontal systems. This makes perfect, logical sense.

I resumed and finished the small chore of driveway sweeping. I then stood still for awhile to admire the cleaned-off concrete while deeply breathing the refreshing, clean air. I felt so much joy being in the crispy weather that I remained outdoors a little longer.

However, as much as I love winter, there are limits. It was soon time to return indoors to put away the broom, then remove the gloves, cap, and coat. A minute later, the HVAC cycled on to refill the house with warmth. I felt like the luckiest guy alive.


The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Minnesota Timberwolves basketball player, D’Angelo Russell. “I wing my style. I think it’s definitely something on how you feel, the weather, that plays a part.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, cultural highlights, Hometown and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Wintry Weather

  1. This was a perfect winter day. Thanks for sharing the experience.

  2. I think that people like to grouse about the weather in general. My company is remote presently, and we had employees from all over the country join a meeting today. Everyone, regardless of geographic location and regardless of the weather in that location, complained about the weather.
    I think your attitude on winter is quite admirable.

  3. swabby429 says:

    I’ve suffered two bouts of heat stroke, so summer is pure misery for my body. I live for the cold winter. Unfortunately, our winter has been extremely mild and our annual snowfall is 14-inches less than normal. Anyway, I’ve enjoyed winter ever since I was a little boy.

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