The official snow count was 18.5 inches at the airport. We had drifts of at least 22 inches, because it was rolling over the top of the snow-blower cowling. It took a few hours to clear our 600 foot driveway, but we were able to do so, and get into town on time. My muscles are protesting the abuse.
Driving, I found there were a few places where I had to guess at the location of the road thanks to white-on-white blowing snow, and mostly I did okay... there was one frightful pass on a little-traveled road where I had to keep up a good clip to keep from bogging down because it hadn't been plowed at all, and it was wiggly, squishy travel. I blew off the stop sign at the end of that road, because I was quite sure that if I came to a complete stop, I was not going to be able to get going again. And YES, there just happened to be a cop directly behind me, and yes, he did pull me over, but he was very nice and when I sheepishly explained that yes indeed, I had done that, and why, he just told me I needed to do better, ran my license to make sure I wasn't a serial killer, and let me go. *facepalm*
I want to get nominations for the Sketch Fest prizes for this round up and going... and I've got some client work, and I want to get commission-control to the next stage of beta-testing, plus some writing. :) Whee!
I have a new story up at Torn World: Darkening Skies. Have a taste of it!
Darkening Skies (excerpt)
Kireg shoved Tiren in the shoulder, laughing and pointing up. “Here it comes,” he said.
It was later at night than they were usually up, or earlier in the morning, but the long night often blurred into the short day without Birka noting when it happened, and the darkness seemed no more pressing than it often was while they were still traveling. Kireg was their time-keeper, shaking them awake in the twilight he called morning, and pointing out the constellations of the stars. He liked astronomy, and had spent extra time with the elders learning how the world rotated in space around the sun, with its satellite moons in attendance. He could tell what time of day it was from glimpses of the moons and stars, if the sun was not up to give them clues. He had a tiny bound book of birchbark paper that had notations of the celestial tracks, and had been deeply excited by this night's anticipated event: a full lunar eclipse. It had been heralded three nights prior by the trailing future moon winking out for several ticks, and Kireg said that the leading moon of the past would do the same three days from now.
The three of them were ensconced in a snowbank, happy to use the insulation of the snow against the biting cold of the winter air, as they leaned back to watch the show. “It will take an hour, at least,” Kireg had warned, and Birka had taken that as a good reason to flop back and make herself a comfortable couch of snow, tucking her hood up over her head and drawing it close around her cold cheeks. Tiren settled at her side, and Kireg made a fussy reclined chair just past him.
The snow-unicorns drowsed standing up, not far away, and the sound of their sleepy snuffling was the only sound outside of the low creak of the wind. They were above the trees now, so it had only snow and rock to sound against, and besides the rustle of her own clothing near her ears, Birka felt like the anticipatory silence was deafening.
The quiet had been a welcome change from Itrelir, at first, with its cacophony of overcrowded people, but she found she missed the variation in sound. There were no children here, and the three travelers were generally too tired to make music in the evening. Even Kireg had begun to fall quiet, intimidated by the silence of the open spaces they journeyed through.
“There!” Kireg and Tiren said together. The very edge of the large present moon was beginning to darken in the lower left corner.
It was almost as if something were nibbling at the disc, and Birka reached a mittened hand to squeeze Tiren's.
“I have a sweet bread cookie!” Kivegei crowed in delight as he came up behind Denel at the railing. “I'm supposed to eat it as the moon disappears.”
Denel reached down to take his free hand, asking sternly, “Where did you get that? Who gave it to you?”
Kivegei wilted, pulling his cookie away. “A man...” he began to whine, clearly anticipating that Denel was going to take it away from him.
“A man with a license,” Jerumal said swiftly, coming in to tickle Kivegei from behind and make him smile again. Amanel was on his other side, holding a cookie that was clearly not going to make it through the eclipse, judging by the generous bite mark that already marred it. “We got them in the courtyard.”
Denel, already not entirely convinced that the boys should be awake so late at night, frowned to think of their behavior with sugar added to the mix, but didn't say anything. Behind Jerumal, Dramanar came to the railing. “Councilor,” Denel greeted him warmly. “Did you also get a cookie?”
Dramanar, a smile on his mild, round face, held up a round white cookie in affirmation.
Below them, the crowd was beginning to swell and grow anxious.
“The moon is going to go away!” Amanel said, delighted with the prospect. Denel caught herself tightening her grip on Kivegei's hand in unconscious alarm. She reminded herself that this was only a function of the world's shadow being cast over the moons that circled them, and let go of him, even as a wail of alarm sounded from below.
“Why are they afraid?” Kivegei asked anxiously. If grown ups were afraid, shouldn't he be?
Denel took his hand again, gently. “They are superstitious people,” she said reassuringly. “They didn't pay attention to their geography classes, and think the eclipse means something religious.” She exchanged a worried look with Jerumal. The gathering was supposed to be educational and cheerful, but the gray rags had rallied for more panic to the occasion than a simple astronomical event deserved, and made careless allusions and parallels to the destruction that was still occurring at the City of Lights. It was just the kind of cheap media pandering that the gray rags were wont to do, and Denel had not expected this magnitude of turnout. Many of the gathered crowd wore Purist garb, and there were speakers at every corner of the big courtyard, each trying to out-shout the others. What little Denel could hear of them indicated poor logic, based largely on fear and redemption from evil. One of them was Slunai, one a odd, eclectic combination of Mruuna religious trappings, and she couldn't identify the others.
There were gasps, Kivegei clutched back at her hand, and Denel watched several of the people below drop to their knees before looking up to find that the very edge of the moon was beginning to shadow.
“How's your cookie going?” Jerumal asked the two boys, pointing up. “Does it look like that?”
Kivegei dutifully nibbled at the edge of his cookie, and Amanel said mournfully, “I already ate most of it.”
(Read the rest here, thanks to the sponsorship of xjenavivex!)