Posted by: Jeff | February 11, 2010

Everlasting Winter

Snow in Old Town Alexandria

Cold weather and snow are becoming almost old hat here in DC, where we’ve experienced two storms dumping over a foot of snow on the District and surrounding areas in just the last five days.  Roads have been mostly impassable, the Metro system has struggled to stay on line, and the federal government has succumbed to the heavy load and closed for nearly the entire week.  Call it snowmaggedon or the snowpocalypse if you will, but Talking Points Memo noted one positive highlighted by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR):

A city that was designed for travel by foot and horses loses some of its charm with modern traffic congestion. A deep snowfall is the perfect antidote, as it adds beauty, muffles sounds and discourages automobiles. The broad streets and sidewalks reveal their grandeur when covered with snow instead of cars.

TPM’s David Kurtz added:

Saturday evening at dusk, just after the week’s first gargantuan snowstorm had abated, my wife and two kids and I had a magical walk down Connecticut Avenue to eat dinner at our friends’ place. Only a handful of cars came by. Dogs were cavorting off-leash. Without engine noises, you could hear the pleasant patter of other pedestrians. People paused to watch the sunset.

Other old-fashioned niceties have emerged, too: impromptu visits from neighbors, meals lingered over because there’s no place else to go, an ephemeral sense of community that passes even between strangers on the street. As the accessible world has shrunk, it’s also become more pleasant.

This was largely my experience as well – people walked the streets in wonderment at the snow, with the exception of yesterday, when it was just plain nasty outside (40+ mph wind gusts!).  On Saturday neighbors along my street came together to help free vehicles trapped under feet of snow.  All in all it’s been a memorable winter for many reasons, but most certainly not least because of the snowpocalyptic weather.


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