Today, my world looks a lot like the picture above. In its characteristic way, the NM weather is cold enough for snow to accumulate on the ground, but has warmed up just enough for it to melt from the sidewalks but not the roads.
Our seldom-seen snow days are, for most, enjoyable. Snow, even in very small amounts, can shut Albuquerque down very quickly. We’re not used to it, so we tend to react in ways that positively puzzle our neighbors to the north. Kids and lucky adults get a delay or even a whole day off. Snow days give us an excuse to slow down, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or an extra cup of coffee, build a snowman, go sledding, start a snowball fight.
Perhaps my favorite facet of a snow day is the radically different perspective it gives me. As I write, my visibility is about a mile, perhaps less, in all directions. The truncated views give me a sense of living in a very small town. Today, the cloud cover imposes a perimeter that shrinks my world, and I can only see the residential areas surrounding mine, dotted with a few shops and a church steeple. To the east, I would normally see the city against a backdrop of the Sandia Mountains. Where the mountain range usually dominates my vision, I see only a backdrop of blinding white. To the north, west, and south, this backdrop lends a very concrete border to the hills, whose crests appear to be the very edges of the earth to me.
Contributing to this small-town feeling is the absence of sound. There is less noise, and what noise there is seems to be absorbed by the same moisture in the air that reflects and amplifies the available light.
So far today, I have not ventured out farther than my driveway. My neighbor just notified me that the roads are in bad enough condition to be dangerous, so I doubt that I will. Instead, I’ll take full advantage of my snow day by getting another cup of coffee and staying inside my abbreviated world.