There was something strangely thrilling about making it home Sunday night through 10° temperature, blowing snow (wind gusts of over 66 mph) and snow drifts that can stop a truck dead in its tracks. It’s the thrill of quite simply “braving the storm”. And sometimes when things seem really bleak and you are feeling quite numb from tragedies both near and far, a bit of courage is a rather awesome thing to feel.
Last night I decided to go into town to find somebody to watch the totally frivolous red carpet goings on for the Golden Globes. Watching frivolity is a way I can stop my mind from dwelling on bad things happening to good people and bad people getting away with crimes.
I decided to wear my sister’s mink because it was bitter cold and I wanted to be a little “glam” for the Globes even if nobody else around here was in this business but me and could care less. The coat doesn’t have very good closures. Just some hooks. Not good in the wind. But I only had to walk a few feet from the car to the bar, so I should be fine, I thought. Silly me. I forgot about Montana winters since it’s been unusually warm.
I hummed as I blitzed down the lane. The lane itself was pretty clear of snow but when I approached the second cattle guard, I could see that a huge drift had formed, but I decided to go for it anyway in my old Audi Allroad since my husband had made some tracks on his way into town. I almost made it and then felt the snow drift start to grab at the car like some creature out of “The Hobbit”. But I bulldozed on turning the wheels towards the lighter snow to my right and just made it out of the beast’s clutches. I thought about trying to get back to the house right then and there, but decided that I would need my husband’s help to clear a path through the drift with his diesel flatbed. And I did not have on my hat with the flaps that tied under the chin, so if I got stuck the half mile walk in the howling wind, it would hardly be a picnic as I tried to keep my hat on at the same time trying to hold my coat closed. Boy howdy , I would not have looked “glam” as I dragged my way back to the house. At least I was pretty sure any bunch of coyotes would have run the other way at the sight of this strange furry beast lumbering up the road. So instead I headed to town to have a quick drink and hook up with my husband for the trip back home. (Proper winter attire pictured here but not worn on this trip to town).
He found me cozied up to the bar sipping a Malbec while watching the stars shivering with cold in their sleeveless gowns on the TV. He joined me for a wine and then we pushed off. It was now dark but I could see his lights about a half mile ahead of me and I saw him turn up our lane full steam. Then I saw him stop just short of the cattle guard. That gnarly drift grabbed him. I watched as he rocked back and forth in its grasp. He just couldn’t make it the last few feet to the cattle guard, but managed to get the truck moving backwards and finally out of the drift.
With a slight sigh of relief, I pulled up behind him. He jumped down out of the truck and I pushed my door open against the viscous wind.
“I’ll open the gate on the left of the cattle guard and then take the truck through it twice and then you follow,” he yelled through the wind. The snow to the left of the road was only about a couple feet high and was not packed, so that seemed to make sense. The alternative was another gate back a quarter of a mile which would mean taking my car through a more rocky and bumpy field ,but it’s a way I’ve taken when the drifts are too high at the cattle guard for even the truck to get through. It means trying to open two barbed wire gates and in this wind that would not be fun, so I hoped this short cut would work.
I backed up and watched as he also backed up and then took a lunge at the now open gate. And he made it. He then backed up and rammed through the snow again.
“Okay,” I said to myself, “my turn.” I was psyched. But then I saw that he was out of his truck and heading towards me. I guess he thought he should take it through the gate. So I pushed the door open and then ran around to the other side. He got in and gunned the car and we slipped and slid through, barely missing the sides of the narrow gate.
I drove up the lane and parked the car. Funny, I was ecstatic about making it home without having to walk through the dark and windy night. That’s because we had beat the drift. At the same time, I was pretty sure I could have made it myself and was a little disappointed that my husband had taken the wheel.
” I think I would have made it,” I said with a smile.
” I thought I should take the blame if we got stuck. You could get mad at me instead of yourself,” he smiled back.
Not sure I believed him as I repeated, “I think I could have made it.”
“You’re right. You’re a good driver. I should have let you do it,” he said seriously.
“No, I’ve been a real coward in the last few years. I lost my mojo. Or maybe just too many people having accidents have made me cautious. Anyway, I think I’ve got my confidence back. But the age thing is still going to make me not quite as quick,” I sighed.
It is a good thing to know your limits, but boy it is also a rush to take on the elements and come out the other side. While not exactly enduring a shipwreck and being on a lifeboat with a tiger as in “The Life of Pi” or escaping from Iran disguised as a costume designer as in “Argo”, last night I felt a bit lionhearted. I might not be picking up a Golden Globe or going to a Hollywood party. But I was very very much alive, all in one piece, warm, and grinning like a Cheshire cat.
When I’m feeling lonely and missing my friends and my former fast paced life in Gotham and Tinsel Town, it is a night like this that makes me understand why I chose this rather odd existence.
“So thank you Hollywood foreign press, I mean thank you Mother Nature for this lovely award and for sparing me the ignominy of being found beneath the snow in a mink coat frozen hands clutching my pearls. And, of course, thanks to my husband who has always encouraged me to stay home when the wind comes up, but is there for me when I disregard his advice and take off into a storm when cabin fever sets in.”