Ice Age, coming or going?

Maybe I just think every year is worse than the last. But last year the final snow and ‘big melt’ came at least three weeks sooner. Looking through some old emails I found this one dated March 14th. I remember Oliver’s sister and I went downtown to find her outfit to wear for their civil marriage ceremony. The guys had gone for one last ski trip while we shopped downtown. The day ended in a big snow flurry and I came home and wrote this email:

It may be optimistic but the weather man has been making promises I hope his butt can cash. Winter may be romantic and full of fantasy and whimsy but at some point that lovely postcard picture just becomes cold, wet and miserable.

Despite all our best efforts (shoes being taken off in the hallway, wiping on the doormats) the floors are always so dirty and I’m constantly finding the little sharp stones that they spread outside to keep people from slipping on all the ice everywhere in our apartment. I have a fool-proof method of doing this: I walk barefoot and ram them into my bare heel with my bodyweight.

The streets are choked with ice and piles of snow mixed with salt and rocks. Whole parking spaces are being hogged by these mounds of black, trash filled ice piles. In the street right under our window is a parking space where someone has managed with their tire to wear a hole through the ice that lines our street. Now that same hole traps every car that tries to park there. This means that almost every day and night some poor fool tries to park there, gets stuck, panics upon realizing this and keeps us up – or distracted – by revving their engine and trying to muscle their way out. Eventually they all give up, go get more little sharp rocks, fill the hole around the tire and break free in a shower of stones. Sort of ceases to be entertaining after the third or fourth one.

The beautiful, fluffy white snow that blanketed everything up until a week ago has begun to degrade and rot and wither away, revealing the treasure troves of trash and debris that have piled up over the winter months: fireworks from New Years are the pulpy brown smears, other brown smears are of the more smelly variety, and I am always surprised that there are so many banana peels and cough drop wrappers.

On Saturday we had our last good snow storm – I hope anyway – what started as a windy day turned into a vertical snow ball fight within minutes. I ducked into Armani looking like I’d gotten too close to the seagulls at Fisherman’s wharf. The look on the security guys face as I stamped my feet and shook off white flakes onto the marble floor was priceless.

The weather guy probably realizes that if his prediction of 16 degrees celsius weather does not come through there will be a hit out on him in minutes. In Germany the winters are long making the sunny months precious. This place has more sun tan salons on every corner than it does McD’s for a reason.

It’s already showing in the trickling sound of water running down the storm drains. Munich is melting, albeit slowly. At night I’ve been hearing this rushing sound followed by a crash as the ice comes down off the rooftops. Everywhere you walk it’s slushy.

Staring out the window this morning on my way to work I was admiring the first blue sky I’ve seen in days when i looked over and saw this man on the opposite platform. He was still bundled up in coat and scarf, surrounded by impatient commuters wanting to board their train. He was turned towards the rising sun, encased in a warm beam of sunshine, his face filled with light, eyes closed and a peaceful smile. At that moment he might as well have been the only one on the platform.

I know how he feels. Spring is coming, the hints are here. I am ready for sandals, bicycles and rides along the river.

Well, we’re finally getting there, no Ice Age, not just yet…


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