The Frozen Tundra and “The Midnight Sun”

A beautiful blue sky greets us this morning.

A beautiful blue sky greets us this morning.

You may remember a freaky The Twilight Zone episode called The Midnight Sun.

As the story begins, New York City artist, Norma of apartment 5A, wipes perspiration from her forehead as she adds detail to her painting of a huge sun in the backdrop of a city.

A flute plays an ominous low register of notes, lending eerie background music to the scene. There is a critical drinking water deficit, and a gas shortage plagues people who are trying to escape the city in droves. A family flees the apartment complex, leaving the perspiring Norma and her neighbor, Mrs. Bronson, all alone in the building.

The camera pans to an outdoor street that is empty except for deserted automobiles, trash, and an overturned child’s bike.

As Norma turns from the window, Bronson tells her, “There was a scientist on the radio this morning. He said it will get a lot hotter each day. Now that we’re moving so close to the sun. And that’s why we’re…” She trails off, and grasps the door frame for support, as the camera pans to that strange, little Twilight Zone narrator guy.

He says, “The word that Mrs. Bronson is unable to put into the hot, still, sodden air is doomed because the people that you’ve just seen have been handed a death sentence. One month ago the earth suddenly changed its elliptical orbit and in doing so began following a path which gradually, moment by moment, day by day took it closer to the sun…This is the eve of the end.”

It is 5 till midnight, and there is no longer any darkness. Because, gasp(!), it’s The Twilight Zone.

The intensity builds, and in typical TZ melodramatic fashion, Norma screams and faints. The next scene shows a blizzard, and Bronson is no longer fainted nor sweaty, but rushes to the sash to close the window against the frigid 10 degree air.

Bronson returns to Norma’s bedside where a doctor is in her attendance.

The doctor tells Bronson that he will no longer be back because he and his family are going to beat it out of there and go south.

In this reality, Bronson tells the doc, “There was a scientist on the radio this morning who was trying to explain what happened…”

Rather than the sun moving closer to the earth, it actually is moving further away. And soon there won’t be a sun. The world as they know it will freeze, and so is the irony of The Twilight Zone.

***

The edge of our concrete drive.

The edge of our concrete drive.

This is how it has felt lately with our strange weather that has turned our wet yards into a virtual ice-skating rink.

I have never seen the like. Yesterday, Princess Buttercup was out walking around on the crunchy ground. What was strange, was the noise that our dogs’ feet made as they ran around the frozen tundra.

Friends are sending hilarious Facebook videos of people sledding down the highway, slick with a thick sheet of ice. School is cancelled for another day.

But if we get bored, we can always watch re-runs of The Twilight Zone.

http://www.tv.com/shows/the-twilight-zone/the-midnight-sun-12660/

I watch my husband's truck disappear over the icy hill as he heads for work.

I watch my husband’s truck disappear over the icy hill as he heads for work.

spike_ice2
Spike has fun, whatever he does.

Spike has fun, whatever he does.

Lovely ice lace.

Lovely ice lace.

Ice_sheets2
Not snow.

Not snow.

Snow Much Fun Outside

Spike likes the snow.

Spike likes the snow.

Princess Buttercup’s school was cancelled for the entire day, and Lefty came home early because of the icy conditions outside.

Snow on our rooftops.

Snow on our rooftops.

There’s hardly anyone out on the roads, but there is an occasional car that creeps by. Because we live in an area where people come from all over the U.S. to live and work, we often hear people say that they know how to drive in the snow. They are just worried about the “other guy.” Well, those are the people who you have to look out for. In other parts of the country, the roads can be salted/sanded/scraped or whatever. Not so much, here. That’s what “they” are forgetting. And I’m not really worried about someone trying to drive in the snow…I’m worried about those who try to drive and then have to brake!

Diagonal lines.

Diagonal lines.


Anyway, Lefty, Princess Buttercup, and I went outside to take advantage of the snow and ice. Our road is covered in about a half-inch of ice. Our weather people are like, “Don’t drive if you don’t have to. Stay home!” And we will.

Lefty pulls Princess Buttercup and me on the sled.

Lefty pulls Princess Buttercup and me on the sled.

Snuggles and Spike play in the snow.

Snuggles and Spike play in the snow.

Crunchy snow.

Crunchy snow.

Princess Buttercup froze this bubble in the snow.

Princess Buttercup froze this bubble in the snow.

This big, fat little bird likes the snow...maybe.

This big, fat little bird likes the snow…maybe.

Icy road to our south.

Icy road to our south.

Icy roads to our north.

Icy roads to our north.

Let it Snow…Please!

Ice in the woods this afternoon.

Ice in the woods this afternoon.

So while Boston is languishing under 7 feet of snow, we north Alabamians get another miss.  At least where my family lives.

Lefty, Princess Buttercup, and I hope for snow.  We dream of snow.  We do everything short of praying for snow.

Princess Buttercup’s school was out for President’s Day, yesterday.  Every hour or so, she would ask Lefty and me, “Do you think it may snow?  Just a little bit?”

We grew tired of reminding her that we really didn’t know, the forecasters didn’t really know, and a snowfall was simply tricky to predict for our part of the state.  A friend of ours, who finished school in meteorology, once told me that the conditions had to be “just right” for us to get snow.  Something about our altitude, the sunshine, and temperature.

Really, Lefty and I like snow, too.  There are lots of adults in our area who enjoy seeing it blanket the dormant, brown grass.  It is so beautiful in the woods.

Tonight, according to weather reports, we have another chance to get it.

We’re crossing our fingers.

You can see a little bit snow (of what little we got) in this creek.

You can see a little bit snow (of what little we got last night) in this creek.

Frozen in Birmingham

Have you seen all of the Facebook posts that pose this rhetorical question:  What did Birmingham do to make Elsa mad??

I feel so sorry for my fellow Alabamians who were stranded this week, especially the schools.  I’ve been on both sides of the desk in the schoolroom—as a teacher and as a student.  I can’t imagine being an exhausted teacher, responsible for those kids for the entire night.  I can’t imagine not being able to bathe after a whole day of school.  Nor could I imagine being a school child and having to spend the night with that same, haggard teacher.  These are kids who had to sleep without their parents kissing them goodnight. Kids who had to sleep without their favorite Teddy bear and fluffy pillow.  
 
I can only imagine being one of the moms who couldn’t reach her children because of the frozen roads.  
 
Speaking of the roads…
 
I can’t tell you how many Facebook posts that I’ve seen which criticize us southerners about our mishandling of the situation.  People who roll their eyes at us and are self-satisfied with their own intellectual superiority and our lack thereof.
 
Let me explain…
 
Birmingham is the largest city in our state, and a sprawling one.  It takes about an hour to drive from its north to south end.  It’s not like people can just walk home from work.  It takes a long time.  Furthermore, the snow/ice storm (or whatever it’s supposed to be called) is a fluke.  We don’t have snow plows and piles of salt setting around on hand to pull out and make everything nice for everybody.  Now that would be a ridiculous waste of our tax moneys.
 
Third, this is a unique medium (to use an art term…I don’t know what you’d otherwise call it) to drive in/on.  Yes, we know that cars will not safely drive on ice, but when is it considered undriveable and when is it just…well, snow?  
 
As a mom, I would be bustin’ it just to get out of the office and go fetch my child, just like the rest of those people who did so.  I’d get out there and forget that I had no traction, and foooooooooooom!  There I’d go, smashing into the other cars–or worse, into the Cahaba River.  I saw pics of cars that did just that.  It’s what nightmares are made of.
 
One more thing.  I’ve got a college friend who adopted a tween from Kambodia.  My friend posts about her a lot, and it’s a fascinating read.  Almost every day, the girl discovers new things that are interesting and curious about our culture.  Would we say that she is ignorant because she’s never seen Cream of Chicken soup before (and, incidentally, she refuses to try the stuff because she doesn’t know what it is…neither do I, really!)?  
 
No, of course not.  
 
So before people are so quick to put us Alabamians in a nice, ignorant little pigeon-holed package, please consider all of this.  In two days the ice and snow will be gone, anyway.
 
 
Oh, and p.s.,  please excuse my little rant.  🙂

NOTE: All ads displayed at the bottom of this post are inserted by Word Press. Ads have not been selected by Stephanie and thereby are not endorsed by http://www.thewritesteph.com or Stephanie L. Robertson.