when i woke up this morning, i was a little disappointed that there wasn't as much snow as i thought there'd be. of course we were less than halfway into the snowstorm, and the bulk of which hadn't fully arrived yet. doppler radar showed a long smear of white up along the eastern seaboard. not only was it snowy, not only was it windy, but it was also cold, with temperature in the teens. this meant powdery fluffy snow, which is easier to shuffle but harder to pile up.
there was nobody outside, and the only people i saw were some contracted snow cleaners with their machines clearing rental condos and business sidewalks. the gopro i'd set up overnight to capture a time lapse was still recording.
of course all the local channels were broadcasting non-stop storm coverage. i was partial to NBC's broadcast, with pretty meteorologist tania leal. for lunch i cooked up the last of my kielbasa, along with some scrambled eggs, aged sauerkraut (a nicer way of say old), and a glass of matcha latte.
around noontime i heard my next door neighbor don shoveling his sidewalk. i put on my clothes and went out to join him. due to the multi-directional winds, snow kept blowing away, so it was a challenge to shovel. i think this type of snow would be perfect for a leafblower to clean. because of the snowdrifts, there were actually bare batches of sidewalk, while right next that could be inches of blown snow. it didn't seem so bad out front, but there was so much snowdrift in our alleyway that i could barely open the door to get inside. after shoveling the sidewalk, i shoveled a path into the backyard to the basement.
afterwards i grabbed a ruler and took some measurements. the largest pile of snow on the sidewalk was only about 4 inches. snow in the alleyway was up to 9 inches, but further into the southeastern corner of the backyard it was 11 inches. there was a snow cake on our cast-iron backyard table that i figured would give me the purest accumulation total: it was about 9 inches.
back inside, i wanted to record some wind sounds for my video projects. i attached my zoom H1 microphone onto my clamp mount and secured it onto the outside windowsill edge. just 8 minute was enough to cover my homemade deadcat attachment in snow. i couldn't get a good recording though, the wind was too strong, causing plosives in the audio (what i need is a blimp).
so i had this image of myself relaxing on a nice saturday, cozy and warm indoors, waiting out the snowstorm. in reality that wasn't the case at all. my room temperature was the way it's always set to in the afternoon, somewhere in the lower 60's. knowing that i had to go out again to shovel meant i was restless. i tried to do some snacking - some salt & vinegar potato chips with a mug of hot chocolate - but it wasn't satisfying at all. all i could think about was my next scheduled shoveling.
starting around 2pm i began to see more people outside. folks were walking to the nearby supermarket to get groceries, probably also a chance to go out and experience the snowstorm firsthand. occasionally i'd also see cross country skiers sliding down the road. it was around this time that my other neighbors started to come out and shovel their sidewalks and dig out their cars, despite the fact that it was still snowing pretty hard, and the wind seemed even more intense. i was waiting for them to finish up with their shoveling before going out myself, but then i saw my neighbors jen and moira not only shoveling our sidewalk but our steps as well!
in the afternoon i turned away from the storm coverage briefly but when i turned back they weren't covering the snowstorm anymore. instead there was breaking news that tom brady was retiring. it was such breaking news, not only were all the local channels reporting it, but so were the national channels like CNN.
around 3:30pm i finally went out to shovel again (especially since i saw don outside shoveling too). i thanked jen and moira for doing our sidewalk. there was still plenty to shovel though, like digging a path out into the street and reshoveling a path into the backyard. it had snowed so much in just the 3 hours since i last shoveled that it looked like i didn't even shovel at all. jen was surprised when i told her i'd already shoveled around noontime. during all that time, my condo neighbors were nowhere to be seen even though i could hear them upstairs.
after i finished shoveling, i went out with a tape measure to do more measuring. the snow banks in our alleyway was up to 27 inches. the snow around the hydrangea patch was 12 inches. at the bottom of the backyard deck staircase 16 inches. finally the backyard snow cake measured 17 inches.
when i turned on the news, there were new reports that tom brady wasn't retiring after all, after they talked with tom brady's father and his agent, who both said he hadn't made up his mind yet. missing was tom brady, who was on vacation in costa rica and couldn't be reached.
close to 5pm i went out on a photo walk. it was still snowing but not as bad, though the wind wasn't letting up. i had on my EF-S 18-200mm lens, so i could shoot wide and telephoto without having to change lenses under these wet conditions. i held my camera in one hand cradles to my chest with the LCD screen up to keep the lens from getting wet, while in the other hand i carried an umbrella. when i had to shoot something, i held the umbrella temporarily in the crook of my neck. even then, there wasn't a lot of protection for my camera, and it kept getting covered in snow, which i kept wiping off with a small towel i brought.
i tried to walk on the sidewalks but many weren't shoveled yet, so the only recourse was to walk in the streets. many other people had the same idea, and i was surprised to see a lot of people out and about, taking in the snowstorm. fortunately the only vehicles on the roads were snowplows. the pedestrians didn't seem to notice them, neither did the plow drivers do any honking, everyone doing their own slow dance. the landscape looked desolate, dystopian, like a scene from dune, except instead of sand it was ice crystals. the plows - with their blinking lights - where like futuristic spaceships. i spoke with one plow driver who was knocking off the slush on the bottom of his vehicle. he'd been working since 3am, and not quite sure when to stop. "when the city tells me," he said.
i slowly made my way to harvard square down oxford street. at one point i took out my gopro and shot a short timewarp video, but i couldn't video and photo at the same time so i put the gopro away.
i was afraid harvard yard would be closed (because of the pandemic) but it was open. i cut through campus to get to harvard square.
harvard square was already desolate, with high rents, empty storefronts, and pandemic. combined with a snowstorm, the place was completely dead.
heading back through harvard square, i saw a group of over 100 students congregating outside the steps of the widener library. all that commotion was apparently because students were using the steps as a sledding hill. instead of sleds, they used whatever they could get their hands on, like sidewalk signs. it was a little weird seeing the brightest young minds in all of the world behaving like children. i was afraid somebody would get decapitated, because there was a metal chain across the front of the library specifically to prevent people from climbing the icy steps; students sledding down would push up the chain before they landed.
i returned home by 6pm. later in the evening for dinner i heated up a stouffer's lasagna, my reward for a day's worth of hard work.
my day wasn't done yet. around 10pm i went out and shoveled one last time. i cleared a path through tall snow banks so i could get out onto the street, then cleared a path into the backyard again. never once did i see my upstairs neighbors at all today. i only saw them on the webcam, after i'd gone out, digging out their car.
afterwards i went back outside with my drone and took a few aerial photos. i did travel far because it was so cold - 18 degrees - and i didn't want to crash the drone.