Tracking

10 Nov

by Nancy Scott

It’s October 2014 and the dire almanac predictions are published. How many polar vortexes will there be, and will the high-paid media gleefully name them? Will I hate it all and worry about high electric bills? But then I remember the first snow of last year…

The phone rings and Maryanne narrates that it’s snowing. Not just flurries. Fluffy rain that lands white and might stay which surprises everyone because the forecast said Tuesday and it’s only Saturday night.

Call-waiting beeps and Kay chimes in, “blizzard conditions” sticking to lamp posts, and I resist going out to my balcony to put out a hand over the chest-high wall to feel. I resist putting on jacket and shoes to go downstairs to catch flakes on my tongue.   I quote folklore about date and enough snow for cats to track footprints. November 23rd means twenty-three snowstorms this winter. But the cats would have to walk on the lawn or the roof of a car. Would someone have to see the footprints?

A half hour later and the phone rings again. Kay says, “Snow stopped” but her smart-phone prophesied squalls off and on until after midnight. There must be fifty stray cats and a few stranded pets.

I thought I was too old or too sad to care about this shift in weather, but I like not missing it. If it must snow 22 times forward of now, I’m glad someone who can see thinks to tell me how it all begins…

This year, our new windows make it difficult for me to track changeable weather. The outside world almost doesn’t exist when they are closed. Maybe this year, if I know it’s first-snowing, I’ll make the effort to catch some first flakes with a hand or a tongue. I should celebrate being here for the shift to winter. But, more importantly, I should never take the thoughtfulness of sighted people for granted. That is always worth tracking.

Nancy Scott, Easton, PA, is a blind essayist and poet. Her over 600 bylines have appeared in magazines, literary journals, anthologies and newspapers, and as audio commentaries. An essayist and poet, she has published three chapbooks. She won First Prize in the 2009 International Onkyo Braille Essay Contest. Recent work appears in Breath and Shadow, Contemporary Haibun Online, and Stone Voices.

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