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Essays by Karen Anderson: Blizzard Conditions

Essays by Karen Anderson.png
Illustration by Kacie Brown
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I stare out the window at what the weather man calls, “Blizzard conditions.” Heavy snow, strong winds, poor visibility. And I have to admit, it’s just beautiful!

Easy for me to say because I’m standing here in my nice warm kitchen. The storm is wild and wonderful as long as I don’t have to travel. As long as my loved ones don’t have to travel. I review the list and am grateful they’re all at home today or living far south where no blizzards threaten.

But beyond my circle are many others who do have to travel—friends and acquaintances and strangers. Many who must steer out onto those treacherous roads, peering through white-outs and straining to see the yellow line.

I’ve traveled many miles in blizzard conditions myself and know the terror, the exhaustion. When the windshield wipers can’t keep up, when the brakes don’t grab, when the road disappears from view.

Probably there’s never a time when someone isn’t traveling through bad weather, when someone isn’t at risk. We live in a world where loveliness and danger exist side-by-side.

Can I still celebrate the beauty? I think I must. Watching spruce boughs release great clouds of snow into the wind.

Karen Anderson is a writer who lives and works in Traverse City, Michigan. She was a columnist for the Traverse City Record-Eagle for 30 years and published two collections.