Thursday, March 1, 2012


Large, wet snowflakes driven by gale winds off the lake produced
this winter's heaviest snowfall.

Washington Island, Wisconsin -

Tuesday night into Wednesday morning we received snowfall perhaps greater than all previous snows this winter added together.    The snow came in large flakes bringing lake moisture, and the temperature was at or slightly above freezing.   We awoke with windows on the SE side of our house plastered with snow.  Gale force winds continued to drive snow until late morning, when it cleared and ice pellets, then light rain took over.  About this time, the layer of snow on our windows had slid down and out of sight.  It was a good day to have a full wood box, and to lay logs on the hearth.

What snow accumulated on the ground was mushy and heavy to shovel.  The morning ferry was cancelled due to the high winds, but the afternoon boat at 1 p.m. made the round trip.   Most county schools, including Washington Island Schools, cancelled for the day.  By evening, the wind had settled and the temperature remained above freezing, well after nightfall.

Here is a storm poem, or the beginning of one...


For four days forecasters
Predicted excessive winds
Following a slow-moving low that would
Fill the region with high pressure,
Stormy skies
And damaging gusts.

“It won’t happen here
the old man snapped,
Deaf to the radio’s weatherman.
Just then, the first shingle flew
From the barn roof to
The vegetable garden
Where stalks of sunflowers,
Heads already bowed downward in
Fall defeat, suddenly flattened.

“I fear the window may give way,”
he said, and stepped back as an
Extra-virulent gust of
Pine needles and rain 
Pelted his kitchen observatory.

“Nothing between us and our maker but
Thin glass,” the old woman answered.
“If it’s to be our time, let’s at least have a feast.”
Then she removed from the cupboard shelf
A single can of sardines saved for
A special occasion, and a
Partial sleeve of saltines purchased that spring.

Their house shuddered and shook
And windowpanes rattled within dried glazing.
The two huddled in the coming
Darkness over their small kitchen table. 
They prayed and ate sardines as they
Waited to lift off.

-  Dick Purinton

No comments: