An Alive Blizzard, A short story
Written by -M. Taggart
Fiction. Copyright 2017
It was snowing. The snow had started earlier than they said it would. I had asked my father about the storm and why it was different from other storms. Dad had said to mom that it might be a Blizzard. I didn’t know what Blizzard meant but I felt it. I felt it deep in my chest when Dad said it.
I saw from our window sill that already the snow covered the roads and sidewalks. Tree branches were beginning to become white. The birds were chirping loudly. I watched as they seemingly bounced from branch to branch. I wondered if they knew about the Blizzard.
Dad had told me it was going to be a Nor’ Easter. He said it was a true one. Not like the clippers that rush off the coastline quickly. He said a true Nor’ Easter doesn’t rush. It sits. It spins. He said it was even alive.
I looked out the window at the darkening woods. The sun wasn’t yet down, but the woods didn’t care. They were preparing to become pitch black. I didn’t want to be in the woods. Normally I’d be the first out the door and rushing to find an evergreen to climb under. Their branches were always soft and the bottom row would be connected to the ground. Snow would pin each branch and you could carve a hole through the snow and hide inside the bottom of the tree. If you did this without anyone seeing you, you could hide there all night and you wouldn’t be found. But not tonight. Not with the Blizzard being alive and the woods being alive and me right in the middle of both.
‘What are you doing, Nick?’ his father asked.
‘And what are you thinking?’
‘I’m thinking about snow forts under the evergreens.’
He wanted to ask his father about the Blizzard being alive. How he would know when it was alive, and what might happen.
‘What do you mean the storm will stop and spin?’ he asked his father.
‘A real Nor’Easter will crawl up the coast. It’ll aim at all of us in New England. Pressure from the north, Canada, will blow toward the system crawling up the coast. The real ones will stop and spin when the pressure from the north hits it. Instead of rushing out to sea, the storm system will press slightly north west. The pressure from the North sits it down, right over us, and it’ll spin like a Hurricane. The longer it sits and spins, the more snow we’ll get. And sometimes the two hit so hard it’s as if their fighting and the wind will drive and the snow will drift and before you know it you can’t see more than a few feet and it’s not safe to be outside. Because you’re in a real Nor’ Easter. A Blizzard.’
I set my eyes on the tallest of pine trees that I could see from the window. The top of the tree was moving, but only barely. The winds were not yet fighting. Maybe there would be no Blizzard tonight. But if it was alive, when does it decide to turn itself into a Blizzard?
‘Is this storm a Blizzard?’
‘It’s too early to tell. We can watch it on the radar and if we see it turn inland a bit, we can watch out the window, or go outside and listen to the wind. We’ll be able to hear it churning and getting stronger.’
My heart dropped. I did not want to go outside and listen for anything to churn. Many inches were already on the ground. And yes, now I see some wind pushing the top of the pine tree.
‘How can a storm be anything but a storm? It can’t be alive.’
My father rested his hands behind his head. He smirked, took a pull from his beer and said, ‘But it can. Did you know tornadoes suck dirt and grime and bacteria into its funnel cloud? And you know bacteria is alive. Bacteria clings to mud and dirt and particles so small we can’t see them. Think about it. Snow is developed high in the sky. First as droplets of moisture. But, it’s not yet snow. It’s to light to fall. It needs something heavier to help it drop. Something like dust. Dust just floating around hoping to hitch a ride back down to earth. The moisture clings to the dust and they both start to fall, together. Eventually turning into a snow flake. You tell me that dust doesn’t have bacteria and you tell me that a storm isn’t alive.’ His father took another small pull and smiled wide. ‘Don’t break yourself over this. It is just a storm. But every storm has a personality. You just watch.’
I held my questions. I needed to catch my thoughts and sit them down. I still didn’t understand what a Blizzard was, but now I knew what a Nor’ Easter is and thoughts of bashing winds, like that of a Hurricane, flicked through my mind. I had heard that a tornado sounded much like a train when approaching. Was that the voice of the tornado? If it was, what would the voice of a Nor’ Easter turned Blizzard sound like? Would it scream? Could it speak? What if I did go out into the woods tonight and let the Blizzard overtake me. Should I? I felt the wrinkles in my forehead pressing together. My face was a twisted and confused face. I didn’t even know if it would be a Blizzard, though somehow I felt it couldn’t be anything else.
An hour later everything changed. The wind was howling. Snow flew sideways and whipped by the window so quickly it was dizzying. My father had to go check on the roof of our garage and hadn’t come back yet. The woods were pitch black and no longer needed to prepare; rather I’m sure now the woods were completely alive and begging me to visit. Over a foot of snow had fallen and the storm was still new. I did everything to not listen for a voice in the howls, but it was too late. I told myself to not put my boots on. As I looked at my feet I saw my boots were laced. I asked myself to not put my coat, hat, or gloves on. I turned the door-nob with a gloved hand.
It was cold. Very cold and the wind was so thick and crisp it rushed into my lungs without permission. Wind pressed me so hard I was doubled over while walking. I didn’t need to see where I was going. I knew the wood line even in the darkest of nights. Instead of asking why, I simply kept going. It was too late to ask and to early to reflect. I knew only one thing. The storm was alive and I wanted to know it well.
Thank you for reading. If you’d like to read more of my writing, please consider my short story found via the link below.