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Part 1: Mark Baumer Reflection: Impounding Vehicles & Immigrant Rights

This is part of a multi-part reflection I've been doing following the death of my friend, Mark Baumer . There's nothing graphic i...

Good Grief.



I realized something odd this weekend visiting with family. I found myself in many a conversation with other adults where snow was the object of ridicule. Outright hatred. Frustration. Loathing.

My relatives who were younger than driving age all agreed with  me. Snow is great.

It may just be that I'm moving along an age bell curve. I"m somewhere between 28 and 29 right now, kind of balancing on the edge of that middle-aged precipice. But I also think it might be that the place I was in this weekend was out in a suburb. Even the people I spoke to when I came back into Providence, though back in the city with me, were drivers. The conversations went kind of like this:

Me: Man, this is some nice snow, huh? 
Other person: Ugh, I hate snow. Bad to drive in.
Me: Oh, yeah, it's true. It's pretty though.
Other person: Ugh, I hate snow.

I mean, it's almost like people can't see the transcendent beauty in the stuff anymore.

I've been having a fascination with even the frustrations of the snow. When it's this icy, especially if I'm not going very far, I'd rather walk than bike. But walking in Providence, even just the mile from my West Side apartment to my downtown job, is an exercise in caution during these storms. You think this is bad to drive in! Well... It seems like no one believes in snow shovels here. But even through that--I might add with the help of youth and an able body--there have been so many great things to grasp from the experience. 

We ran out of rock salt, so when we did our steps I just poured some regular table salt all over. And then I could here the ice crack and snap and press together. I came back later with just a big wooden broomstick and smacked the crap out of that ice, and it broke into tiny opaque white shards from what had been clear glass. It's great!

The concrete on my mile walk to work was full of all sorts of dangerous places. Areas of packed snow shaped like other daring people's feet. Huge mounds of plowed in piles. Smooth crystalline lakes, and bulbous formations that look like they could only come from the dripping of a cave, but which stood in rippling rotundity all on their own. How can anyone (who's not in a wheelchair--okay, big if!) hate this stuff?

Even the fact that people (most people, which is more than usual) start to slow down in their cars. They drive at speeds that they should be driving normally, because they suddenly understand the fragility of their control. What a joy! I'd crawl over all sorts of ice for that!

I wish people would shovel more, but I also just wish that people who can would get out of their cars and experience what they've been missing. Our fascination with the beauty of water in its solid form should not be taken away by our dumb vehicles.


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