Blizzard Predictions By Elaine K. Andersen There are periods of a Wyoming winter when no matter where you look, it is white. At such a time, snow cov- ers the prairie, the forest, towns and highways. Even the sky is white, a dull porcelain plate turned upside-down on the world. In town, traffic creeps and pedestrians walk with mincing steps on thin, white ice, trying not to fall while clutching hats and collars. Away from town, the roadways are packed with snow regardless of the plows. The vehicles moving along them look like a bad batch of cookies, flung haphazardly into a bowl of confection- ers’ sugar. As the day wears on, the wind picks up and snow comes down at a slant, closing in on the eyes of driv- ers. School lets out early and for once, children scramble off the bus with no thought but getting home to their own warm kitchens. Coal mine employees on shift make the long journey to work, dreading the unfavorable conditions. In everyone’s mind is the question: the possibility of blizzard. Before nightfall, it slams in. Cold jackhammers down, drilling into every corner and canyon. The snow in- tensifies, but there are no flakes, just thick clouds swirling madly, a carousel of white horses gone berserk. Sight is cut off, the world reduces. Get in, get out, call in, lock up, pull in, bed down, stay off, stay home, keep watch, wait it out. The routine is cancelled. The storm is here. A town can only huddle. Animals abandon the open air if they can. Ranchers pray if they know how. The elements of catastrophe roar in and down, down to where you sit in a dimly lighted chair, waiting. And that is how your world changes. You sit on the edge of the tub in the bathroom, staring at a tiny ob- ject changing color. Or, the one you thought was in it forever walks out, taking a bag you did not pack. A phone is ringing, but you don’t answer, knowing what will come through that connection. A frivolous piece of gossip, spoken into the air of sunny afternoon, by nightfall becomes damaging fact. A doctor looks soberly into your eyes and says, “I need to tell you...” You lay in bed at night, not moving, the darkness cutting little pieces out of your heart because someone isn’t home yet. And on and on. There is no place to hide, no remedy at hand. Outside the window, nothing can be seen, just your frozen reflection staring back at you. The blizzard has you bound, rooted, walled in. Will it stop? What can be done? You berate the person in the glass. Why didn’t you prepare? Lord, are you sleeping? Wake up, else I perish! The wind, the snow and the immobilizing cold have their way until finally the storm is spent. Then, morning rises on silence and coming in through the windows, into a still room, the sun pours over the closed, exhausted eyes of one who sat waiting. The light of His presence presses gently on the place of pain, fills up the snowbound. “I am with you always in everything.” Get up, wrap around in something warm and force the door open. Is there possibility after such a night? Oh, yes. Yes! It is a new day. From the threshold, how changed is the view! But the sky is the one remembered: blue, intense, expansive. You go out and begin living again. Then His disciples came to Him…saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” —Matthew 8:25 Lo, I am with you always … — Matthew 28:20 For You have been … a refuge from the storm … for the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. — Isaiah 25:4 DOWN COUNTRY ROADS 63