Snow in My Rear View Mirror ~ haibun

Snow in My Rear View Mirror

Growing up and living for nearly sixty years in Western New York, I’m familiar with inclement weather. From the Pennsylvania border to Buffalo and northwards, lake effect snowstorms are a regular occurrence. Until Lake Erie freezes over, west winds will carry moisture inland from the lake, sometimes burying the area in snow. Once the lake does freeze, snow that accumulates on the ice can be carried inland by the wind. Gusts over 75 miles per hour during the Blizzard of 77, on January 28, 1977, left snowfall up to 100 inches in some areas and drifts as high as 30 to 40 feet, burying some homes and bringing the region to a standstill for five days. Of course, not every storm is that severe, but I’m very familiar with driving in unfavorable conditions.

I left all of that behind (sort of) when I moved to Missouri in 2012. Here, a heavy snowfall is four inches or more, something that might be seen twice a year. Temperatures are always fluctuating, sometimes into the forties and higher, so freezing rain or black ice are just as likely. Barely a week will pass before accumulated snow melts and is gone. It’s 61 degrees as I write this, but there’s a winter storm watch from Tuesday through Friday, and the predicted high for Wednesday is 26 degrees with six to twelve inches of snow expected to fall. Temperatures in the forties by Sunday will take care of that.

I said I left those lake effect storms behind, but that’s not quite true. I still drive back to visit family, and my route parallels the shore of Lake Erie for 200 miles, from Cleveland to Buffalo. Any trip from late-November to March holds the potential for lake effect conditions. Some of my worst white-knuckle driving experiences have been on those trips. Once a year is more than enough for me.

whiteout conditions
on congested motorway
deer watch cars crawl past

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday 1/31/22: Winter,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Image source: YouTube (Blizzard of ’77)
~ click image for larger view in new tab ~

34 thoughts on “Snow in My Rear View Mirror ~ haibun

    • 😀 Seeing it in a photo is much better than in person! I lived north of the city, out of the brunt of the “snowbelt,” but we would get a couple of feet of snow in those storms. My house was about 3 miles south of the Niagara Falls airport, which registered the highest gusts of that blizzard.

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    • My adrenaline is pumping just imagining that.

      Way back in 1981 I had my first front wheel drive car, a Ford Escort. I was driving my father to visit a friend in the country, and there was about 2 inches of snow on the road as we drove through a long stand of pines. He asked if I should be driving 45mph with snow on the road. I told him the front wheel drive handled it great. We left that tree section and had farm fields on either side of the road. A 30 mph wind was blowing across the road — totally unexpected — and blew that little car 15 feet of the road. I stepped out of the car into the snow — right up to my waist. It was a drainage ditch that paralleled the road, and the car was sitting on top of the snow! Yeah, I really impressed my father that day.

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    • Thanks, Dwight.
      Enjoying a powdery snowfall, right now. We’re expecting close to a foot by tomorrow. Everything is pretty much shut down. Back near Buffalo, the street plows are similar to the highway plows around here, while the city plows here look like a 3/4 ton pickup with a blade. One consolation here is that — maybe because there are hills everywhere in the city, plus being the state capital and appearances — there is a lot of preemptive salting. Even so, I’ve had very little problem with car rust. Throwing salted road slush while driving back northeast could mean some real corrosion.

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  1. I grew up in windswept central Illinois, and remember walking over fencetops on snowdrifts. The winter winds on the prairie are brutal. Enjoyed your wintry description!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember driving from Altoona back to Philadelphia on the turnpike at night in a snowstorm through the mountains and I was young and not scared like I should have been. Just annoyed at having to pull over every so often to clear ice off the headlights, taillights, and wipers. Didn’t even leave until the snow was 4-5 inches and arrived home at about 1am. Went to work the next day. Your work here reminded me of that trip. You sure captured the atmosphere. I certainly should have been white-knuckled.

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    • My son was in the NY State High School Indoor Track Meet at Cornell in early March 1996. We left Ithaca late afternoon, with wet powder just showing on the pavement. Before we got to I-90 (50 miles north) to head west to Buffalo, it was impossible to know where the shoulder — or the adjacent ditch — was on the state highway (all rural). Once on the Interstate, I drove 20 feet behind a semi — the only way I could see his taillights — and followed him at 20mph for 80 miles. That was worse than anything I ever did driving a semi (thankfully) & very nerve wracking. The team bus left 30 minutes after we did, and we waited at the school for 2 hours to take our son home. I did not envy that bus driver.

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      • That story gives me the shivers. I can easily imagine it. Especially about following the taillights and being unable to orient yourself on the road. Everything is just – snow. I’m grateful I no longer have to drive in it. I don’t even think I’m as good as I was walking in it!

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