Thursday, January 13, 2005
DRIVING IN THE SNOW
Now that the heavy snow has begun to fall, we often park our van down the mountain in the tunnel because Echo isn't happy driving up here in all the white stuff (maybe ice underneath), even with 4-wheel drive. And sometimes the snow gets so deep you couldn't drive up here with anything but a tank, anyway. You have to wade your way up.
I, on the other hand, having grown up in upstate NY, the east coast version of Siberia (the Hudson River Valley is a big north-wind tunnel), am quite at home driving on snow or ice, day or night, shovel in the back, comfortable with spinning and sliding, steering automatically into the slide etc. I used to love that stuff. Still do, at least in memory. Used to drive all the way to work on sheer ice sometimes.
Before dawn this morning, as I was walking down to the van through the snow that was whispering onto the already deep white, my mind drifted back to the old days, when all we college guys of the notorious (mythic, even) Myrtle Avenue basement apartment had for wheels was a 2-wheel driven, engine-oil-devouring (we always carried a 5 gallon can of oil) 1954 red ford panel truck with 4 bald (original?) tires, but we used to unhesitatingly drive it 200 miles through streetlightless night blizzards to go to a party or be with a girlfriend.
Never had a problem; never got stuck, never slid off the road, never hit a fire hydrant or tree or slid into a river, just get out the guys in the back and carry the thing across the frozen water. Those were the days.
Nowadays, though, even though I enjoy driving in the snow just as much as I used to, and feel I am just as good at it, never spinning out or getting permanently stuck or sliding into the paddy culverts that border the roads up here, nevertheless I note that when I drive in the snow, I drive like back in NY I used to see elderly men driving in the snow. Why were they so cautious? Now my heedless youthful driving is equally hard to believe, from here on the other side of time.
That's the way the snow falls.