The weather outside is (sort of) frightful

As someone who grew up in Wisconsin in the 70’s, that glorious era of blizzards and ice storms, I love snow- it’s my favorite weather. Of course, snow has become a bit like free beer- a rarity- and I miss it. I can’t remember when I last had a white Christmas. 

So, I should have been celebrating when the snow started falling here yesterday afternoon, but times have changed. In the lost world of my youth, snow was never to deter you from getting your work done- it offered false hope to young kids desperately hoping that school would be cancelled, but it almost never was, and I can’t really remember anyone ever missing work for snow. 

At the first sign of a flake floating to earth in its lazy trajectory, sand and salt machines would pour onto the streets, plows would be scraping the roads clean before anything could stick. If the roads were closed, you’d take your snowmobile to work. If the gas stations ran out of gas, you’d cross-country ski. We proud cheese-heads used to laugh at the feeble folk of the South, who would close school if it was snowing in the next state. 

How times have changed. Now days, less than an inch of snow is enough to send should-be rough-and-ready musicians racing for shelter. Imagine- violists without snowmobiles- I guess people just don’t take their careers as seriously as they used to. I won’t even tell you, dear reader, just how many players missed rehearsal last night because of our dusting of powder, but it was a lot. So many that I would have cancelled rehearsal altogether, except the people who’d really had to come a long way and deal with mountains and the like were many of those who made it, they wanted to play before they got back in the car, and so we played a bit of Beethoven and called it a night.  I love a lot about the Northwest- it’s a great place to be thirsty, with the best beer, wine and coffee in the world, but I sometime think it would be good to get Garrison Keeler out here for a few months to give seminars in Midwestern-style winter stoicism. Oh, and in how to lash a bass to the back of an Arctic Cat.

c. 2006 Kenneth Woods

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About the author

American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

Learn about Kenneth at

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