last weekend our community took a retreat to the ozarks. why did we go to the ozarks in the dead of winter? because the house was generously offered to us and let's be honest--the lake is much better to look at than to actually swim in it--both aesthetically and biologically.
however there is a slight problem with going to the ozarks in the winter besides the lack of lake activity--snow. there are many large hills and the neighborhoods around the lake are many and the roads are largely uncared for. in fact the snow plow man for the area is 75 and it just so happened that he was sick at the time we happened to be there during this downfall. and he didn't want to go outside and possibly catch pneumonia. understandable, certainly--it's just that maybe that should be taken into account before you have 6 stranded people running out of food after a couple days.
such was our situation. things were getting dire, and we decided that we needed to rise up to the occasion. unfortunately there were no snow shovels to aid us in our process. so, armed with a push-broom and a bag of rock salt, we ventured out onto the unknown roads. that is after we spent quite some time just even getting out of the steep driveway.
it wasn't long before we came upon a pretty steep hill. we got our and started sweeping a path of the wheels up the hill. it was steep. and when we got to what we thought was the top we realized it went on much longer. about a 1/4 mile actually. we pushed the broom all the way to the top, working in shifts when we got tired. another team of 3 followed us carrying rock salt in cups up from the car. after quite some time we made our way back down carefully spacing out our tracks.
fortunately that was the only hill we had to conquer--the rest were already done in a matter of minutes but a giant truck. but ours meant so much more. and i'm convinced that whoever came upon that hill later could see the evidence of our toil, and i know they were impressed. and we had found victory in the survival situation, rescuing ourselves from assured starvation and future cannibalism. thank goodness.
this weekend i was taking a train from new york to boston. we had several stops along the way, but somewhere outside of providence rhode island the stop took a little longer than normal. i was listening to headphones and reading so i wasn't sure what was going on. but i did smell something burning. i thought it was coming from the vents but i looked around at my stuff just to make sure.
but yes it was coming from the vents and the engine had somehow burned itself up. giant flames were leaping from the lead car and we had to flee quickly into the surrounding woods which were buried in 3 ft. of snow. ok not really but the engine really was dead. we had to all transfer from one train to another, in the middle of the tracks, cramming into this other train for the remainder of the journey. luckily it wasn't that far and we all made it with only an hour delay.
then on my flight back from boston we arrived to kansas city only to find out that it was very foggy, snowing, icing, and freezing. we circled for about 20 minutes, above a very beautiful floor of sun-touched clouds i might add, and then headed off to st. louis to land and refuel. a couple hours later we finally made it back to kansas city. decending through the clouds it was very surpising to reach visibility only just above the runway itself. it was pretty crazy. pulling into the airport it seemed like i'd landed on another planet--some place like hoth or canada. and somehow i had to wonder why it had so regularly been so hard to get back to this blasted ruinous place.