For 25 years of my life, winter has been a time of cold weather, probably some rain, and maybe some snow. Snow meant no school – a day off! – and hopes for more than what we usually got in Georgia. Our meager inches of fluffy white goodness were never enough to build a snowman.
Then I was in Seattle, where it snowed two times while I lived there, and only once so much that I was excited. I still got a day off work because Seattle doesn’t plow, and I lived on a hill with a sheer cliff-face for a road leading downtown. We took a walk and found five buses that were trapped on the hill! It was a great day. Most of the time, it was just cold and cloudy, but not so cold that it iced over.
Arkansas got cold, and we had a day of snow in November; I still had to go to work, though I think we had a delayed start. I lived 30 miles from where I worked, and there were about 9 bridges on the way. Every single one had ice, and every single one had at least one car that had tried to go across at its normal 70 mph and failed. One of the bridges in particular had about 13 cars off the road.
And now I’m here in Michigan. Let me tell you about winter in Michigan.
There’s still no sun (just like Seattle), but now it’s always bitter cold. November and December were mild, which was some false advertising. Since January, I can count on one hand the number of days that we haven’t had snow on the ground. And if right now you’re thinking “oh, but Michigan knows about snow! Their roads are fine!” then you have not lived in Holland, and you are buying into the lies.
90 percent of the time, the roads are not plowed. There’s salt on them, sure, so they might not be as icy. But the only clear space on the roads are where larger cars than mine have already traveled. And those larger cars, being so much larger, just keep on driving at their normal speeds. I don’t think my car is physically capable going over 30 mph when it’s 20 degrees.
So every day that I drive to work, I’m – to use Eric’s terminology – white-knuckling it for about 20 minutes, hoping that the snow on the road is just snow and not snow-covered ice or that when I get to work, I won’t be trapped in 2 ft of slush.
If you’ve ever wondered about ancient cultures and what made them look up at the sky and think, well, we’ll just worship that giant yellow circle in the sky, you have not lived in Michigan. Because when Spring returns, and I get to see the sun again, I am pretty sure I will sacrifice a goat to it.