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Dreary winter days can have bright spots
OF KIDS AND NATURE, BY HERTHA BINDER
Dreary winter days can have bright spots
My husband and I were driving to Chester. It was a dreary day, drizzling, foggy, cold.
"Don't let the weather get you down," said Tom. "Think of that beautiful day when we drove to the Cleveland Clinic."
Oh, yes, that day -- earlier this year, towards the end of March, Tom and I had planned to attend a lecture at the Cleveland Clinic. It was one in a series for continuing medical education about eye diseases, and we had been in another such lecture a month before. Those events are scheduled from 7 to 8 a.m., and it takes us a bit over an hour to get there. To leave home before 6 and get up at 4:30 doesn't quite fit my "retired" daily schedule, but once a month I'll do it without grumbling.
The evening before, it had been raining, then freezing and finally snowing. But in the morning, the roads were clear. We left in time. The sun was not yet up -- it was daylight-saving time -- but there was already dawn. You hardly needed the headlights any more.
"Look how nice the trees are," said Tom.
"Yes, every little branchlet is visible, nice and so intensely white."
"I can't remember that I've seen trees and shrubs like that." Tom shook his head in wonder.
"You are right," I said. "Normally, after it snows, you see snow in big patches covering whole branches of evergreens and sticking to the forks in the branches of the deciduous trees. And, of course, if there was an ice rain, all branches, big or tiny, are covered in glistening ice. But this ..."
"Maybe it's because last night it was first raining, and, before the water was all frozen, it started snowing, so the snow could stick to all the twigs, even the tiny ones." Tom finds a logical explanation to everything.
The view was really spectacular. Although there are, of course, many houses along Mayfield Road, most of them have front yards with trees or shrubs. Therefore, looking down the road, one can't see the buildings. Nothing but that dense lace of the millions of little bright white twigs. And from Claridon to the Cleveland Clinic, there are lots of trees. This view alone was worth the trip.
"And look at the moon!" I called out. In our admiration of the snow-covered landscape, we both hadn't paid attention to the moon. It was about 15 degrees above the western horizon and looked particularly large. Most of the time it was right above the road. The fact that the full moon was still out in the west and the sun about to rise illuminated our snow-covered branches from both sides and contributed to their sheen and brilliance.
Now, at the Cleveland Clinic. It consists of many large buildings, and the Eye Institute is easy to find. Of course, we had been there countless times during the last decades. But the driveway we usually took was blocked, closed. Tom hesitatingly drove on. There are many drives between the various buildings. The next one was closed too, and the following one was one way in the opposite direction we needed. We circled several times around the whole complex. That wasn't easy either. Euclid Avenue was torn open too, and we suddenly were on Chester Avenue.
Finally, Tom found a way. He let me out at the entrance and went to park the car. By now, it was 10 minutes after 7.
I went to the auditorium expecting the lecture to be in full swing. Light was shining out under the big door. I opened it carefully, to avoid any disturbing noise.
The room was empty, not a soul in it, not a secretary, not anyone to project slides. Apparently, they had long left.
Back out in the lobby, there was a secretary for general information. She had not known that there was supposed to be a lecture and also not why it wasn't held. "I'll find out for you."
Just then Tom came in and saw me standing there with a forlorn look. "Nothing?"
The secretary came back and said with a sweet smile, "It's been canceled. The speaker couldn't make it. In Minneapolis, the weather was worse than here, and no flight could get out."
I sighed. "Well, it took us only 20 minutes to find a drive to this place."
"Oh, yeah." She shook her head in sympathy. "Everybody has troubles getting in here with all those repairs."
"We'll try it again next month," said Tom.
Surprisingly, we found our way out of this place much easier than it had been to get in.
The moon had set. The sun was up.
Snow was still on all the branches, big and little. Brighter now in the sunshine, at times so brilliant that one couldn't look, and often the sun stood right above the road. Tom wore two pairs of sunglasses, and I just closed my eyes when I couldn't stand the glare. But the view was still amazingly beautiful.
"Well, $8 gasoline for that grand view wasn't too bad," said Tom when we were home. "I'll remember that day for a long time."
I fully agreed and lay down for a nap.
It's nice to have happy memories on a dreary day.
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