I raced up to Mammoth after work, hoping to beat the heavy spring snow storm that was forecast. The roads were clear and dry all the way until north of Bishop, near Sherwin Summit. The wind whipped around our car and after Crowley Lake, thick flakes of snow blurred the view through the windshield. My biggest fear was having to put chains on the tires which I have never done. I had brand new chains in the back of the car, along with gloves, a blanket and a flashlight, just in case. But the snow wasn’t yet accumulating enough on the highway to warrant chains. We pulled up to our condo just as the snow was beginning to stick.
Relieved, I settled my husband in his chair upstairs and unloaded the car. We brought two bags of groceries in case we couldn’t get to the store, along with a cooler with perishables. I brought my personal computer and my work computer. I brought hand weights so I could work out. I brought adapters for our cell phones and iPad and our Chromecast. It took several trips from the car and up the stairs of the condo before we were finally unpacked.
I lit a fire in the stove and settled into my chair. And then I realized I had forgotten my canvas tote bag in the den at home. I had carefully packed the essay I was working on with all the comments from my writer’s workshop. I tucked in magazines I hadn’t had time to read. I stuffed in the LA Times crossword puzzles for the last three weeks that I haven’t been able to solve. I had scooped up the clutter of unread mail and bills on my desk and stuffed them in the bag. I put in the two books I was currently reading – a novel by a writer I met at the writer’s retreat and A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold. I felt adrift –what was I going to do to fill up my time here?
In the morning, I find plenty of books still unread on the bookshelves – Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne, Travels by Michael Crichton and Old School by Tobias Wolff. There is a book of crossword puzzles in the cupboard. We watch cooking shows all morning on TV. Outside, the snow is mixed with rain and throughout the day, the branches on the pine trees sway in the wind, sending chunks of heavy snow crashing to the ground. The condo has warmed to 69 degrees from the stove and we have plenty of wood. I look out the window, grateful and content. I beat the storm!