Schools closed. Meetings canceled. Government offices and quite a few businesses shut down for the day. An ice storm can stop folks in their tracks or place them, gracelessly, on the seat of their pants. And while it is frustrating and sometimes dangerous for those with work to do, the imposition of weather is also a tap on the shoulder to recall that nature still occasionally takes precedence over the occupations of people.
The storm and its slippery mix of laden clouds and a temperature resting on the hinge of freezing moved in Monday and, unlike most visitors to Maine this time of year, decided to stay the week. It painted the streets a glossy black, enameled the trees, sealed up car locks and turned pedestrians into performers of interpretive dance.
Kids got the double bonus of being home from school and using their skates in places where six months ago they dribbled basketballs. Adults who could stay home had the rare chance to make another pot of coffee and contemplate a day unplanned. What to do with the loose time? Maybe write the thank-you notes waiting since Christmas. Maybe not.
No one assigned the duty of shielding the rest of us from the elements can afford such thoughts, of course. They’re out there fixing power lines, plowing the streets, delivering mail, helping misplaced motorists. An ice storm to them means longer work hours and the uncertainty of what the next hour will bring. Firefighters and police, judging from the staccato of the newsroom scanner, have been especially busy during this storm.
Still, for those who can enjoy it, yielding to the weather is a small delight. It’s a long winter in Maine; there’s no sense in trying to fight every day of it. Choose your weather carefully.