Today was the first "real" snow of winter- as I look out the window I see at least a foot on the ground, and the drifts are two feet or more of soft, fluffy whiteness. Driving is becoming a bit of an issue, and this morning as I headed to the church there were several tense moments as I fishtailed along unplowed roads without another car in sight.
The apartment complex where we live has a truck come in and plow out the driveways and parking areas when the snowfall gets particularly heavy. As this is our first winter living here, I'd never experienced the ritual of preparing for the snowplow. About half an hour ago there was a knock on the door, and the downstairs neighbor informed me that the snowplow had arrived, and we needed to be ready to move our cars once he'd finished with the opposite side of the complex. I thanked her, donned shoes and a jacket (the baby and I had both been down for a nap) and snatched my car keys on my way out the door. The plow was working away along the other side of the drive and several cars had been moved and were idling on either side of the small tree-lined median that separates the parking lot. A handful of ladies were walking among the cars on our side of the lot with snowbrushes, brooms, and shovels, cleaning off windshields and clearing the sidewalks so everyone could easily get to their vehicles in time for the mass migration. Neighbors who hadn't seen each other in a bit shared hugs and laughs as they brushed off windows and avoided snowdrifts, and one industrious little fellow was busy with a miniature shovel of his own, clearing the walk in front of his grandmother's door. Two elderly ladies had taken their snowbrushes and began to brush off the coat of a third, who took the opportunity to crack jokes about getting the "brush-off", and not even from the right sex!
The plowman made a last pass and then went to clear the main drive, and an intricate dance of cars began. The vehicles along the median pulled back into their assigned places, then everyone on our side of the lot pulled out, one at a time, and filled in the newly vacant positions. A few of us grabbed some spare shovels and began clearing the sidewalks where the plow had kicked up more snow, and an older woman stopped to thank me. I told her it was my pleasure, and she laughed. "You're young!" she said. "When you're my age, it's more like pain!" We both chuckled, then I went to replace the shovel and help two other women who were assisting my handicapped neighbor out of her car and back up to her door to make sure she didn't fall. She asked them to stop a moment, then she grinned at me and began singing "Stop! (in the name of love)"; the other two women joined in while I laughed. The atmosphere was positively party-like until the plow finally pulled away and everyone began to head back inside to dry out and warm fingers and toes.
I looked out the window just now. The cars are all back in position and there isn't a soul to be seen. If it weren't for the giant piles of snow at the edges of the lot, I could almost think I'd imagined the whole thing.