Six more weeks of winter had to happen, and here in New York City, Greenwich Village, our first snow of the extended winter is the Blizzard of '06, February 12th. Even as this is being posted, the snow is being driven by the wind so that it is falling "horizontally" swept by the wind toward the east. The snow is piling up at the rate of three inches per hour.
It is Sunday and the morning is quiet, virtually no traffic, and even the snow removal teams have not swung into action. All is quiet and peaceful. Snow is transforming our routine, every day scenes into vignettes of exquisite beauty. The bare winter trees become asymmetrical patterns, glistening and majestic. Walking through the snow, I notice that every sound is muffled by this new absorbent surface, almost as though we were suddenly plunged into an anechoic chamber. I create a footpath in the snow where no one has yet walked.
Across the street almost disappearing in the snow, some trees I seldom notice have taken on the look of Christmas trees, elegantly adorned with mantels of snow... I had never noticed how serenely magnificent these trees are in the midst of Manhattan's Greenwich Village. They decorate Bleecker Street with an eloquent presence, and I wonder if they have ignored me as much as I have failed to notice them. Now the snow bonds us in a mutual embrace of winter, almost oblivious to the raging blizzard surrounding us, enveloping us with wind and blowing drifts. Snow is beginning to drift to alarming heights, and I almost forget that I am in the safe sanctuary of the Village and imagine myself trapped in the wilderness.
Even Mayor LaGuardia has been attacked by this beastly blizzard, the snow swallowing his head and upper torso past his shoulders. His clapping hands, always still, now are rendered ingloriously mute in handcuffs of snow. His vigorous pace has been captured by a snowdrift, and I wonder as I watch the falling snow if he will be engulfed altogether.
We have been waiting for winter and it has arrived with an aura of splendor and majesty. The Village has become a fantasy, a fable of a wintry Sunday afternoon. Looking over by NYU's Bobst Library three SUVs become a polar bear family: Papa Bear, Moma Bear, and Baby Bear. It is almost the opposite of looking at billowing clouds on a summer afternoon where one can find castles and kingdoms in the sky. Now a wintry blast carves new visions of fantastic and whimsical illusions, of snow-covered flights of imagination.