One year ago, I woke up eager to get out of the house after being snowed in for a week. Being “snowed in” in the DC metro area means something different than it does in farther northern reaches. Whereas in Maine, the snow falls and the plows steadily carve a reliable passage for cars and pedestrians so that people can quickly return to business as usual, here a few inches of snow can paralyze the region for days. The 36 inches of snow we received in one fell swoopy storm shut down roads, schools, work, the metro system, and the federal government.
But on January 28, 2016, I was breaking out of confinement for a few hours. I tightened the sling that held my healing (and aching) shoulder and draped a jacket around me, excited for, of all things, physical therapy.
I didn’t return home for five days.
The slip on the ice (frozen melted snow) that led to a shattered ankle, surgery, and three months in a wheelchair left a mark, but one that fades a little each day. I’m still not perfect, but I can tell when rain is imminent. I probably won’t wear heels again. I don’t know if I could flee from an attacker, but in a hurry the other day I tried jogging down the walkway to the car and that didn’t really work so well. The one-legged balance poses in yoga that I used to love now challenge my balance and strength to the core. Some days I forget the break happened; others, the pressure from my blankets and comforter alone are enough to make my ankle throb.
But I grew closer to even my dearest friends. I got to spend three weeks living with my sister, the longest time we’d spent together since her childhood. I’ve shed all scraps of modesty. (I don’t know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.) I’ve learned to accept help and even ask for it. And finally, I’m writing again.
But the next snow storm – and the one after that and the one after that? I’m staying inside until every snowbank melts.
When the time comes, send books and wine.