It’s been a quiet week in Windom Park, my neighborhood and my TCDP “beat.” It’s quiet in spite of the fact that we are in the midst of the holiday season when we are usually in high gear. The fact is, the winter of 2010 has pretty much silenced the neighborhood, the city, the state….
For starts, the streets are impassable. “My” bus, the #25, usually wends its way down McKinley, probably to avoid the mighty school/church complex on Stinson. These days the #25 is re-routed to Stinson where the Parkway is broad enough to permit passage. The driver clenches the wheel, does his best to accommodate the riders who are perched precariously on an icy mound as they shiver in the frigid darkness just before dawn.
Then there are the sidewalks. Good people have carefully plowed, shoveled, salted and swept down to the bare concrete – just before the plow comes through to dump a ton of ice and snow at every corner. Pedestrians with cleats, talking sticks and well-toned muscles are helpless in the face of alpine climes frosted with an inch-deep crust of ice.
Small animals quiver at the very thought of their daily exposure to the elements.
Cars are double and triple parked in driveways to avoid the inevitable tow and accompanying fine.
Children and little old ladies like me are – or should be – carrying flags to indicate their progress through the tunnels.
Snowbirds are long gone – or stuck here for the duration.
The mailman and the plow operater merit hazardous duty pay and the thanks of a grateful public.
Shoppers have gone digital – which means the UPS driver needs to battle those mean cliffs to deliver the mail order holiday gifts.
Freezers are depleted and outdated canned goods replace the Rainbow run.
Layering just to grab the newspaper adds a good ten minutes to the morning routine.
The hale and hearty can take all this in stride – after all, we’ve weathered the solstice and the days are getting longer by the minute.
What concerns me is the elderly, people with disabilities, the ill, those who have no one to keep on eye on them, children who may be going hungry, neighbors who don’t have closets and drawers full of warm clothes to layer, homes that lack heat, the hundreds and thousands of people who suffer frostbite, falls, malnutrition, fractured limbs and ambulance runs to the ER.
The winter of 2010 is difficult for all of us, impossible for far too many. Garrison would concoct a tale to bring it all to life. I can only fret and list my worries and think about just what we can and must be doing to survive and to help others do the same. In normal times, Windom Park neighborhood loves the quiet….maybe not so much during this holiday season.