When Winter Comes Early

No one was prepared. Least of all the city street sweepers.

It’s the middle of November–the time of year for fall color and cozy sweaters and cute pumpkin-bedecked porches. It is most certainly NOT the time of year for several inches of wet, heavy snow that sticks around indefinitely even in the sunshine. But that’s exactly what my state got a few days ago. Out of the blue, in defiance of all reasonable weather reports, this region got dumped on in a rush of sloppy, slushy winter mess.

I live in Michigan–the mitten is known for its *ahem* serendipitous weather patterns, but this unforecasted shift in seasons was sudden and unwelcome. It’s not that we Michiganders can’t handle snow and ice, or that we don’t like a white Christmas, or that we are unable to persevere through nearly five months of bleak grey skies–we do it every year–but this was different.

No one told me WINTER IS COMING. I wasn’t ready, dangit.

Neither was my city. They were just starting to collect the raked leaves from people’s yards. Nearly every street is lined with mounds of fallen autumn crunchies, pushed past the curb for pickup. Guess what didn’t get finished before the snow hit?

Yeah. Now instead of piles of fluffy leaves, we have mounds of soggy, dead foliage compacted into dirty snow. MILES of it. Not what anyone planned, and yet on top of several bonus weeks of below-freezing weather (thanks, 2018), this leaf-snow combo has to be dealt with somehow.

Similarly, I’ve recently been hit with an unexpected life problem that shouldn’t have been a problem at all, but now it is and it’s causing me a lot of pain. It’s not my fault, and it came out of nowhere, but I’m stuck dealing with it for awhile. It will likely get fixed in the next few months (it’s not life threatening–quit worrying!), but I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about how I wish things had gone differently so this never happened to me at all.

Unfortunately, the snow’s already here. The leaves are already wet. And the next thaw might be several months away. Plan B is most definitely needed.

I don’t know how my city officials will choose to address the problem of unconventional seasonal cleanup (I’m betting they already have a plan). As for me and my situation, I’m going to focus on how thankful I am for the amazing people in my life that have been super supportive in all this, and on how grateful I am that I get to continue to write and mentor teens every day, even when I’m not at my best.

Even winter can be beautiful at times.


A little sparkle in the storm. Photo by me.