Wednesday, January 12, 2011

And on the third day, the sun did finally appear, and the people rejoiced, for it was good.

Good, but not good enough to overcome the arctic blast of frigid air that finally blew away the clouds of earlier this week. Temperatures never got above freezing all day, and all that slush on the road, the slush that kept my car from sliding on into the ravine, has turned into a solid sheet of extremely slippery ice. If I tried to roll my car down the driveway today, I'd probably still be sliding along somewhere.

So, for a third day, I couldn't get to work. I finally did lace up a pair of good hiking boots, and carefully walked across the treacherous ice to the supermarket, more for something to do rather than any urgent need to replenish supplies.

What I found was both a little encouraging and a little disheartening. Once I got out from under the trees on my shady block, the roads were in much better shape. There were people out driving, trucks making deliveries, restaurants open. I stopped in Fellini's for a slice of pizza, more because I could than because I needed to.

Where the sun was hitting the dark pavement, the ice was melting, even at these low temperatures. Where the snow is in the shade, e.g., my block, it's turned into a virtual ice skating rink. In other words, the roads are now clear, except for where I live.

In case you don't know, let me explain the physical geography of my neighborhood. I live of a west-facing slope leading down to a local creek, a third-order tributary to the Chattahoochee River (in other words, a tributary to a tributary to a tributary to the Chattahoochee). My road loops around the creek, crossing it twice at upstream and downstream culverts so broad you may not even realize you're crossing over. Three roads lead to and from my loop road, providing us access and egress to the rest of the world, and all of them are uphill (i.e., away from the creek) and all of the hills are moderately to very steep due to the particular geology of the underlying bedrock. The steepest of the hills faces west on the same hillside as my house; my steep driveway is basically just a shorter version of that road. The gentlest slope faces to the east and the one with a slope between these two has a southern exposure.

Now, there's no point in even considering the steep, west-facing route out of here; this time of year, it gets very little direct sunshine and even in the highly unlikely event that I were to make it up, I would then have to descend an even steeper hill on the other side and take on about two or three more hills before I finally got to a major road.

The gentle, east-facing slope seems promising but is still packed with ice. If one gunned the engine and got a running start, one could conceivably make it up to the top, but at the top of the road, it intersects with busy Northside Drive. Yesterday, Northside was deserted, but today it was packed with cars crawling along on the ice. So if one sped up to the top of the hill, you'd better hope that there was no ice to prevent you from braking at the top before encountering all of that traffic on Northside. That's not a chance I'm willing to take.

So finally, that leads us to the south-facing, mid-range hill. As the day progressed, the afternoon sun hit that road, finally exposing some dark pavement. If it doesn't glaze back over tonight, I should be able to make it out of here in the morning on that road and up onto one of the drivable surface streets. From there, I don't see any problem making it all of the way to my office.

It's just the first 500 yards that will be difficult.

Wish me luck.

1 comment:

alex said...

nice to know that the sun goes shining again.
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