In this blog post, I will be taking a break from politics to focus on something less controversial but still interesting: weather!
Today I made a brief expedition outdoors into the “Blizzard of 2022.” As someone on the autism spectrum, I have particular sensitivities to wind, cold, and precipitation, which arguably makes going out into a blizzard potentially one of the dumbest things to do. However, I also enjoy photography and exploring and documenting the world around me. So I decided to venture out into the frozen tundra that is Malden, Massachusetts.
The thing that was most remarkable about today’s blizzard was the almost complete lack of visibility. From inside my house, I could barely see the (admittedly few) vehicles passing by on the street, something that hasn’t been the case during any previous snowstorm. As soon as I stepped outside, the wind almost literally hit me like a ton of bricks. It forced me to walk backwards down my driveway in order to avoid snow violently pelting my face. Fortunately, because of the direction the wind was blowing in, I was able to resume normal walking when I reached the end of the driveway.
Everything around me was white and/or gray, the only pops of color being street signs, traffic lights, a fire hydrant, a flag, and occasional red leaves still clinging to branches. As I made my way down the street, the snow for the most part was higher than the tops of my boots. Because of the vicious wind, the snow was much deeper in some places on the sidewalk than others. I tried, with mixed success, to step in the random places with relatively little snow in order to avoid snow getting into my boots and making my feet disgustingly wet and cold.
I passed through the large intersection where my house is located, and headed down the street past a playground, tennis courts, soccer field, baseball diamond, and cemetery, taking photos as I went. Very quickly, my fingers began to hurt because it was so cold, so I put gloves on.
Along the way, a few plow trucks passed, as well as the occasional car, but for the most part the landscape was eerily deserted.
I proceeded to the pond at the end of the street, surrounded by a park and wooded area. The pond itself was almost invisible in the blowing snow, but I took some photos of the view. I considered turning back at that point, but the sidewalk going around the pond had some relatively snow-free parts, either because someone had shoveled or because the wind had blown the snow away. So I followed it for a bit and took pictures of picnic benches, a trash can, and some trees.
By that point, my fingers were hurting even with the gloves, and a sudden, particularly violent gust of wind came out of nowhere and made me scream in pain, so I knew it was time to head home. Unfortunately, because I was now walking in the opposite direction than I had been before, I once again faced a situation where snow was being violently and ceaselessly whipped directly into my face. Because this is something that I find physically painful due to my sensory sensitivities, I opted to walk backwards along the sidewalk for most of my journey home. In addition to looking extremely strange, this made it difficult to navigate the uneven snow and, alas, resulted in more instances of accidentally stepping into really deep snow and getting my feet soaked.
As my luck would have it, the only person that I saw on my exploration was a guy shoveling his walkway, whom I passed while walking backwards and simultaneously muttering about how annoying it was that the wind was forcing me to walk backwards. Oops. Another interesting thing I noticed while walking home was that my footprints, left just a little while earlier, were almost completely gone! A testament to how much snow was coming down and how wildly it was blowing around.
By the time I got back to my house, my hands were numb, my face hurt, my feet were disgustingly wet and cold, and I was quite irritated at the wind and the fact that it had put me in the position of either walking backwards or being subjected to constant torture for my entire walk home.
Even though one would expect a blizzard to be cold and windy, the Blizzard of 2022 was even colder and windier than I expected. It was striking how deserted the streets and sidewalks were, and how severely visibility was affected. Overall, I guess I’m glad that I went. I am definitely happy to be indoors with a cup of (decaf) coffee, looking out the window at the plows doing their job and the snow glittering quietly on the ground.