Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Saving Grace of Snow

This has been a winter, in this region, to embark us steadily upon a snowy path to breaking all previous years' record volumes of snowfalls. From November on through to March - and likely into April as well, snow events have been constant, unrelenting. Three out of every four days have covered us with some vestiges of snow, from light flurries to redundantly-fulsome snow dumps. Streets have been narrowed as never quite before, with piled-up snowbanks.

Where lawns and gardens once were, reside huge billowy snow comforters under which our spring bulbs and hardy perennials patiently wait their time of awakening. The refulgent beauty of a fresh snowfall is always fresh, as though our minds and memories are incapable of capturing our wonder at witnessing that vast, blank whiteness, and each year's witness amazes us anew. Children leap with joy into freshly piled snowbanks.

Skiers, snowshoers, tobogganers, all chafe for the opportunity to slide down snow's contours, embankments and steep descents. It's rather less celebrated by those whose childhood has been left far behind, and those for whom daily commutes to a workplace become complicated by dire road conditions left in the wake of these many snowstorms, replete with ice pellets and freezing rain conditions.

But thank heavens for the generous helping of snow we have received this year. It has saved lives. In Montreal, a single mother of seven young children awoke during the night - night before last - to the realization that her home was on fire. All but one of the children were on the second floor with her, sleeping. A four-year-old child slept on the first floor, and that child made her own way out of the home, with serious burns.

The mother managed, with the strength of a mother's desperation to save the lives of her children, to drop all of the other six children, aged ten and under, out of a second-story bedroom window, onto the snow below. They wore only underwear, but were unharmed, and noise-alerted neighbours scooped them up and brought them inside, before firefighters arrived.

The mother, suffering from burns, as well as her four-year-old child, are being treated in hospital. But the age ten-to-two siblings, three boys, four girls, will live to see their futures. And their fiercely determined mother, who herself refused to jump until she was assured that all her children were accounted for, will live to watch over them as they grow into their futures.

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