Everyplace I’ve ever lived, people have complained that “no one here knows how to drive in snow.” As usual, life is more complicated than that simplistic phrase. For one thing, some of the people who say that are also from “here,” wherever here is, and the subtext to this statement is “Of course, I’m the exception, I can drive anywhere.” Then there’s the fact that in this modern age, many of the people one finds anywhere are from somewhere else, and have visited yet more somewhere elses, and possibly drove there. Also true is that the people sliding down hills in Spokane might as easily be natives of snowy climes as newcomers from the arid southwest. The more complex truth is probably that some people are good drivers in any weather, and others are not, and while experience helps, it’s not the only factor at play.
We had a winter storm forecast for today. It hit some of the county and skipped others. Here at the ranch, we had light flurries of snow, but not much of anything. The mountains around us, the Swisshelms, the Dragoons, the Chiricahuas, the Huachucas, are topped with snow. My path home takes me through the Mules, which are dusted at their highest extremes, as if someone had walked past with a torn bag of powdered sugar that puffed with every step.
The forecast for New Year’s Eve at Times Square calls for temperatures around 40 degrees at midnight—this in a city where there was just a massive storm. Here in sunny Arizona, that night is expected to drop to around 15.
You don’t need to live in the country to understand that reality is always more complicated than the simple stories. It doesn’t hurt—but it’s not required. What is required is opening your eyes to that truth, and being willing to look deeper, to pull aside the screen of simplicity.
Not a bad resolution for 2011.