Monticello Road is a community arts project in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through photography and a series of public events and conversations, we explore how an art can be an essential, integral and everyday part of a healthy community.

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

The White Tempest

The New York Times description of this weekend's blizzard noted its sharply-defined shoulders. Last entry led with the sundog that announced the storm's coming. Today we see its tail as it roars away to the northeast, leaving Charlottesville cloaked in a thick white blanket.

It is easy to dwell on the hassle created by 20 inches of heavy, wet snow being dumped on our heads in a very short period. It was back-busting just trying to keep up. Many of our friends lost electricity and therefore heat. The sounds I've been hearing on my roof do not set my mind at ease.

I have to say, however, that I am glad about this white tempest in some ways. First of all, it's shockingly beautiful. More on that, and tons of photos, in the next entry. Something about these events brings people together. During this storm and the last, we have really come to know our neighbors quite well, even better than before. Last time around, no one was prepared and we were forced to rely on one another for a few shared shovels and the occasional cup of sugar. Pushing cars and shoveling out the elderly neighbors replaced my usual daily workout.

This time, we were more or less prepared and dealt with the weather more appropriately but the cool thing is that we still seemed to need one another but in a softer, sweeter way. Instead of pushing their marooned Honda Civics through and over snow drifts, we joined with our neighbors in drinking wine or tea, eating yummy treats they made and watching the beautiful storm outside--and speculating about where we would seek refuge if we too lost our heat.

"I think Ivanna has a wood stove. Not sure if she has dry wood. I hope we don't have to burn the furniture!"

Today is bright and beautiful and the lights still turn on. The walk's all shoveled and we're looking forward to a full day of sledding with our fun neighbors. When a 50-meter trudge qualifies as an exhausting workout, it certainly is nice to such great people nearby!

Note to Citymouse: Just because we love our neighbors and praise the comraderie here, it doesn't mean that it wouldn't be like that in New York. We all know that the City has a special spirit that binds people together. Who knows: we might feel even warmer and fuzzier if we were there. So don't get get all indignant about how New Yorkers all pull together in a crunch: we know that. We're just saying that we like having cool neighbors here, like the ones we had back there. It's the only way to live.

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