Thursday, February 3, 2011

Scenes from the Snowpocalypse

(above: hanging out on snow-shuttered Lake Shore Drive)

The snow starts falling around two in the afternoon. At the after school program I where I work, the kids are just getting out of class. I lead a group of first and second graders out the door and down the street, where a long line of cars waits to take them home. The wind begins to pick up, driving the icy snow into our faces. The older kids find this hugely entertaining, and stagger around exaggeratedly, competing to see who can get the biggest laugh from their friends. But one younger boy seems genuinely frightened, and hurries forward. I block the wind as best I can, until they have all been whisked away to safer and warmer places.

On the way home the streets are all but deserted. A handful of students struggle across the U of C quad, their heads down against the wind. Once inside, we turn on the news, watching the reports until they grow monotonous, falling asleep while the wind howls outside.

The next morning, we step outside to survey the new world. The sidewalks are, amazingly, already clear – thanks, LSTC Snow Crew! – but the streets are impassable. One unlucky motorist was stranded in the middle of the intersection; their car now sits, buried there indefinitely. Our own little Kia is completely covered, its roof pushing up the snow like a prehistoric mound.

Yet everyone seems to be in good spirits, their regularly scheduled day interrupted for the elusive snow day. People help each other dig out their cars, kids tumbling around between them, the streets temporarily transformed into a playground.

Later, we walk down to Lake Michigan, and stare out in awe: The crashing waves are stilled, frozen over, and the snow stretches out for as far as the eye can see.

For more scenes from the day, check out our photo album here:
Scenes from the Snowpocalypse

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