Last night we had a thundersnow, a snowstorm complete with thunder, lightning and hail, that managed to drop almost two feet of snow in 8 hours. Today I awoke to a fairyland of snow, with thick coats of snow on windows and trees, and few signs of the cars buried under drifts. I filled a thermos with Darcy’s spice chocolate, bundled up and sidled between four foot snow embankments towards Prospect Park. Trees with thick branches were weighted down with up to a foot of snow. Cross-country skiers and sledders were scattered across the park. The soft snow sank below my boots, as I sought out packed snow, trying to avoid the cross-country paths.
I love snow, as only someone who grew up in the mild climate of California’s San Francisco Bay Area can do. We had a dusting every five years or so, but it generally melted off within a couple of hours. I love the way snow transforms the city, covering dirt, cleaning the air, glistening in the sunlight, causing tree branches to sparkle. The reflections of sunlight off the snowdrifts in an otherwise dim season cheer me immeasurably.
This is something like the seventh major snowstorm of the season, closing down schools, roads and above-ground transit. But we haven’t had a big snow season for a few years and I missed out on the December snowstorms when I visited family, so I haven’t burned out on it.
I crossed the Long Meadow towards the forested Ravine, stopping to sit on a cleaned bench that barely cleared the snow. Children lined the ridge behind the Tennis House where sledding areas were demarcated. A mother on cross-country skis with a rope around her waist pulled a toddler on a sled. Dogs were chasing Frisbees, reveling in the drifts. Wind caused snow showers as trees unburdened their limbs.
I trudged along the path by the Amberkill, where I watch feral goldfish swim in warmer seasons. The stream peeked through where the water ran fast but was covered by ice and snow in the pools. I stopped to watch the falls and an elderly birder photographing in the forest.
A woman on cross-country skis with a black lab stopped to ask me if the trail was crowded. I warned her that it was uneven, but she was already cutting through new snow, allowing the lab to walk in the existing path. Urban cross-country skiers are a hardy lot, purchasing sturdy fiberglass skis that can stand up to asphalt or stones peering through the snow. I used to be one, before my feet outgrew my boots and the available bindings changed, meaning that I would need an entire new setup that I could only use in cold years. I left the path and walked up the hill to the ice-covered ponds, stopping to shake snow from the holly so the plants wouldn’t break under the weight.
The children’s calls of delight from the sledding slope filled the air as I emerged. A woman in snowshoes sat texting on the bench where I had rested. As I crossed the meadow, I found a valley behind a tree grove filled with snowmen and half an igloo. Two teens threw snowballs, but everyone else seemed to be engaged in building, using plastic sleds as snow scoops. The trees had significantly less snow and slush was starting to form at the corners as I left, cheered by the experience.
- Thundersnow NYC: When Snow Is Not Enough, There Is Thundersnow (huffingtonpost.com)
- “The Brooklyn Blizzard Photographs Mystery [Video]” and related posts (gawker.com)
- Brooklyn Aftermath (roadsidenut.wordpress.com)