Monday, January 5, 2009

Es Schneit

It is snowing in Leipzig. Really snowing. My friend Anne says that in sixteen years of living here, she has never before seen this much snow. Today is not particularly cold, but tomorrow will be -12 Celsius (10 degrees Fahrenheit). Naturally, tomorrow I need to make the long walk to campus. For walking in this weather, I wear a sweater under my parka, a wool hat under my hood, tights under my jeans, and socks under my socks. I then hurry along as fast as I can. I look like a bundle of laundry trying to do a marathon.

Not having a car makes one much more conscious of the weather. However, literature can do the same thing. Recently I read Marge Piercy's novel The Longings of Women. The story, set in Boston, is told by three first-person narrators, one of whom is a homeless woman of sixty. A series of marital, work-life, and investment fiascoes brought her to this state. She works as a cleaning lady, but does not make enough to afford an apartment, and the waiting list for public housing is very long. The book does an eye-opening job of detailing how such a woman manages: spending nights at terrible shelters, at Logan Airport, in church basements, illegally in the homes of the people she cleans for when they are away traveling. Also the days when she is not cleaning, long and aimless days in malls or bus stations, anywhere out of the cold.

The sky above Leipzig is gray (or "grey" -- I see a lot of British spelling here). There is much more snow up there.


bluesman miike Lindner said...

Aw, c'mon now, Nancy! I don't believe there's been a Leipzig storm yet that could faze a Rochester gal.

Remember the winter of '79? The =major= blizzard on April 1st? "The wind, it was howling/And the snow was outrageous"--Bob Dylan, "Isis"

Mark said...

"In my day"...there had to be 2 feet of overnight snow for the school board to declare a snow day. One year we had so many snow days that summer vacation was delayed a week. It seems due to cyclical (and man-made) climatic change New Jersey doesn't get that kind of blizzard as often anymore.

BTW, we also had to sleep in a matchbox and wake up 2 hours before going to sleep and, yes, uphill both ways....