Spitzer Schnee und der Bus

One area where my "conversational German" is relatively decent is small talk about the weather.  Today's blizzard presented a great opportunity to practice while texting with friends and family (who so kindly indulge my sporadic inclusion of German vocab and phrases).  I even got all the spelling right all on my own.  This is really saying something since, honestly, I'm not that great of speller in my native tongue.  

Das Wetter heute ist schlecht. Sehr schlecht! Es ist windig und kalt.  Auch es gibt viel Schnee. Und im April!?!

(Today the weather is bad.  Very bad!  It is windy and cold.  There is also a lot of snow.  And in April!?!)

All day yesterday I maintained a Let's-Just-Wait-And-See attitude toward the burgeoning hype over the weather forecast which called for a doozy of a winter storm.   Everywhere I went people were talking about it, actually starting a week previous when it first hit the extended forecast.  It seems to me that people increasingly like getting worked up about the weather.  Like it is a hobby.  It is something to complain/fret about regardless of the season--its too hot, too cold, too rainy, too snowy, too dry, too humid, etc.  I attribute this increased vigilance about the weather to the fact that most people have up-to-the-minute forecasts in their pockets now.  It seems like an overblown degree of concern for the vast majority.  I mean, its not like most of the people I talk to are farmers or have huge, long commutes.  I think another factor in the weather fixation is that, in our modern lives, the weather is still a "wildcard" that we can't control.  Plus, we contend with a ravenous 24-hour news cycle always on the watch for some drama.  So, all day I said I was sure we'd get some snow, but...a blizzard?  I was dubious about the scale of the impending storm.  I cycled home at 9pm last night and it was still almost 40 degrees and there was nary a speck of snow on the ground.

Fast forward to 8am today and I find myself trudging through calf-deep snow to get to catch the bus a block north of my house.  The dry snow is blowing so fiercely that it stabs my eyes and makes me cough.  It felt like someone was throwing sand in my face.  I can barely keep my eyes open.  Thankfully I have a very short walk to the bus stop.  A man kindly stopped to offer me a ride, concerned that I was out in such conditions.  I assured him I only had another minute before I was safely ensconced on the bus and trudged on.

Let's sidebar here so I can gush about how much I appreciate the bus on my wintery work commutes: 

I lived here for more than 15 years before I took the city bus.  I decided to try it during a particularly long and record-breaking coldspell in 2019.  See, we joke that our city is "the San Diego of Montana" or in "the Banana Belt of Montana" because our winters are so relatively mild.  I usually take a few days off from cycling here or there during the months of December through February when/if it gets particularly cold or snowy.  Mostly though, I am able to safely and comfortably cycle to the library 12 months a year because our winters are so mild.  

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuut I truly love having the bus option for the days where it isn't safe or fun to commute by bike.  Like today!  I use an incredibly handy app to track the bus so I know if they're running on schedule.  I then walk a block north to the corner where I catch the bus.  I ride the bus a little over two miles and am let off on the southern edge of campus.  From the time I leave my house to the time I enter the library is a mere fifteen minutes or so.

Most important though, is that it is such easy and stress-free transportation.  No scraping icy car windows and letting it warm up for action.  No navigating the snowy/icy streets.  No finding a parking space when no one can see the parking lines on the pavement so the lot is a mess.  I can skip all that hassle with just a $2 bus fare and a couple of minutes walking to/from the bus stop. I bundle up and stay cozy warm and let someone else do the driving.  For me, this is an absolutely perfect solution when the road conditions are dicey. 

I've never had a walk to the bus stop like today.  I was astonished.  It was wild.  Truly blizzard conditions--and they came on so fast.  At 7am it was wintery, sure, but certainly no blizzard.  Yet just an hour later it had all changed dramatically.  I thought of the Little House books and how Pa gets lost in a blizzard and has to ride it out in a snowcave even though he's quite close to home.   I felt a whole new appreciation for that story this morning.  I've never experienced being out in conditions like that.  The wind was relentless.  Visibility was dreadful.  I was impressed the bus driver saw me, actually.  I watched out the windshield as we drove and I don't know how he was doing it.  Plus, he was really upbeat and enjoying it even!  It takes all kinds in this world.

All photos from my walk to the bus stop this morning.

According to the local weather service we got ten inches of snow before noon, nearly double the previous record for April 12th--with more snow still falling.  It is already the snowiest April day recorded here since 1955.  That's the year my mom was born which helps me even better conceptualize the record.

The K-12 school district and the other college in town both cancelled classes today so people could avoid the risky roads.  As I watched the wall of white through the windshield of the bus I couldn't help but wonder what the heck I was doing heading to work...but it is what it is.

On the bus ride home at 5pm visibility was significantly improved. My driver said they’d stopped all routes for an hour not long after my morning ride. 


  1. Hi Beth,
    ...I have dabbled at learning German for many years...the Man took German in college but just to fulfill his undergrad foreign language req...then of course he took Greek and Hebrew at seminary...and I majored in French and the Classics...and have since added Japanese, Spanish, Italian and German in Duolingo...I do love Duolingo...your April weather is pretty crazy though...
    ~Have a warm and cozy/snowy lovely day!


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