Some Sentences, Dec. 2017 – The inversion blues

Dec. 10, 2017 – When I tell people I live in Montana, one of the first questions I get is: “Isn’t it cold?”

That’s my cue to spin tales of 20-below days, ferocious blizzards, vehicles that we plug in at night in hopes that they’ll start in the morning.

All of those things are true – there’s been at least one truly awful blizzard in my dozen years here – but what’s also true is that I love winter. I look forward to the first snow with the eagerness of a child. I love the way it drapes the town in white, each flake catching the light and refracting it, the deep, soothing quiet.

So when the temperature finally dropped below freezing, and the air took on that bright, clean tang, I got psyched – dragging boots up from the basement, loading up the urn on the porch with our assortment of Yaktrax designed to deal with every level of ice, and assembling a lineup of gloves, mittens, hats and scarves by the front door.

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Then I waited.

And waited. And waited.

Only to hear the worst possible news – that Missoula is in the grip of one of its infamous inversions, a thick layer of cloud that traps miserably cold air beneath it without a flake of snow to make it bearable. As one leaden day follows another, the trapped air grows murkier and people get crankier. The only change in the long-term forecasts involves the grim possibility of freezing rain. Bah, humbug.

Yesterday, though, brought a flash of hope. Just for a little while, the clouds parted – not enough to allow the relief of a truly sunny day, but at least giving up a glimpse of barely remembered blue sky.

All I could think of was that line from the Leonard Cohen song – “There’s a crack, a crack, in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

It was only a little light. But I’ll take it.

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