Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

White Out


Rawlins, Wyoming T/A in daylight
: photo by aortali1375, 9 February 2008


Coming down out of Ten Sleep Canyon into Worland
where they still haven't cleared the dust away
from last winter's thirty foot tall drifts
which just melted down and left puddles of

everything that blew through Worland since last Fall

TC: Worland (Worland, Wyoming, March 1980), from A Short Guide to the High Plains, 1981

Rawlins, Wyoming T/A: photo by aortali1375, 9 February 2008

Rawlins, Wyoming T/A in daylight: photo by aortali1375, 9 February 2008

Wamsutter, Wyoming. I80 snow buildup behind snow fence. They build snow fences about 20 feet high, then when the wind blows it slows the air enough for the snow to drop to the ground. it cuts down on the amount that blows over the highway: photo by aortali1375, 9 February 2008

Blowing snow and ice on the road, Fort Bridger, Wyoming: photo by aortali1375, 10 March 2009

Speed limit 75 yeah not just now thanks. This year Wyoming has implemented seasonal variable speed limits on i80 near Elk Mountain -- 65 in decent conditions, and they can change the signs remotely as needed. They REALLY needed this change. Fort Bridger, Wyoming: photo by aortali1375, 10 March 2009

I80 after a plow spreads sand. It gets everything filthy but at least its helps keep you from sliding around too much. Fort Bridger, Wyoming: photo by aortali1375, 10 March 2009

Blowing snow across I94 in North Dakota: photo by aortali1375, 1 March 2009

Northern Ohio. Spring: photo by aortali1375, 20 March 2008

Snow and ice on I80 west of Fort Bridger, Wyoming. Ice on the lane from compact snow: photo by aortali1375, 4 February 2008

Snow and ice on I80 west of Fort Bridger, Wyoming: photo by aortali1375, 17 February 2008

Green River, Wyoming. Mesa with snow: photo by aortali1375, 16 March 2008

Snow and ice on I80, Wyoming: photo by aortali1375, 16 March 2008

Spokane I90 Sunday not my trailer: photo by aortali1375, 4 December 2007

 Blowing snow, Rawlins, Wyoming, I80: photo by aortali1375, 11 December 2007

The wind blew all night and left this pattern: photo by aortali1375, 11 December 2007

Pretty drifted snow pattern: photo by aortali1375, 11 December 2007

FlyingJ, Rawlins, Wyoming, I80: photo by aortali1375, 11 December 2007

Snow covered road, Rawlins, Wyoming, I80: photo by aortali1375, 11 December 2007

 Wamsutter, Wyoming. I80 was slippery last night: photo by aortali1375, 11 December 2007

New snow fences in eastern Oregon: photo by aortali1375, 16 March 2008

Ice and snow covered US 61, northeast Missouri: photo by aortali1375, 15 December 2008

York, Nebraska today. The trees have a pretty coat of snow. Brr: photo by aortali1375, 10 December 2007

I don't like winter. [Anthony Ortali at the wheel.] Saint Joseph, Missouri: photo by aortali1375, 16 December 2008


TC said...

I've never been an over the road hauler in an 18 wheel Cascadia, like Anthony, but experiencing his elevated wide-angle view might be the next best thing.

He's from California, so you've got to know that he was feeling the cold.

The March 1979 road survey of Wyoming Energy Boom country from which this poem comes was conducted in, of all unlikely things, a VW dune buggy.

Those drifts looping over the snow fences sure looked tall, from down there close to the intermittently-visible iced-over, flake-blown asphalt.

A few more bits from that patch of the snows of yesteryear:

Wyo-Booming, 1979 (I)

Wyo-Booming, 1979 (II)

TC said...

By the way, talking of Anthony's elevated wide-angle view reminds me that on the evidence of his photo log, being able to see the road from the high throne plainly did not prevent many of his fellow over the road drivers from slaloming off the slick spots on the interstate and ending upside down in a frozen ditch. This is obviously a high-risk, demanding, exhausting, skill-honing profession.

(Being up high wasn't much help to the driver of the city bus I was riding two nights back, when a fellow driver from another line attempted to take a tight downtown corner at the same time and clipped our bus, gently but noticeably -- an abrupt thump, confusion, white knuckles of the panicked humanoids gripping the mobile devices -- and that trip ended up with a sullen flock of discharged passengers waiting in the night, dutifully filling out little incident-report cards... for the supervisor who never showed up. And no snow fence to protect us from the bone-penetrating advance of the marine layer.)

TC said...

... And lest this attack of snowblindness appear premature... the white stuff's already coming down right now in Wyoming, and sticking. Check it out.

Snow at the Continental Divide, I-80, Wyoming, mile marker 184.3 (approx. real-time webcam highway view)



"everything that blew through Worland since last Fall"

With a heigh, ho, the wind and the rain and the snow

if Fall is here, can Winter be far behind?

Jonathan Chant said...

A first, as you lie in bed in your motel room or mobile home,
it merely disrupts your sleep, your nervous system. Later you kill your dog and wife.

What a line.

ACravan said...

Really blows me away, especially the shots in the middle featuring the side mirror. I don't like winter either. I will forward this to my friend from Cheyenne who now lives in Bangalore. He would never admit it -- he's a very contrary sort -- but I suspect he dislikes winter also. When I would speak to him on the phone from Cheyenne in years past, it would sound like this post feels. "Puddles of everything" -- I like that very much. Curtis

TC said...

Thanks to all. Jonathan, that line you've picked out compresses a news item from the period into a few words. That happened in Gillette, I believe. That period in that place was classic Boomtown business, perhaps not so unlike any rush for gold, oil, etc., in which adventurers and entrepreneurs gather for a time until the particular resource is extracted, the supply exhausted, or, alternatively, the demand has declined (usually due to price changes together with the development of competing supply sources). For six months or so during the "Energy Crisis", it seemed like very enterprising wildcatter on earth had convened in Wyoming. The next year, prices of fuel went down, and the boomers were gone.

Of course, all those enormous open pit mines scarred the Wyo-moonscape in perpetuity... but hey, America's not about protecting its environment, it's about CARS and JOBS.

TC said...

(But I will say that many of those coaltrain-rattled motel rooms and propane-tank-size mobile homes -- oft wrapped in polyethylene sheeting for insulation against the biting winds and freezing temps -- did not resemble the sort of spaces in which what is now called "life style" could easily be made to occur. Not that every roughneck boomer was shooting his wife and dog... many had left their wives and dogs back home, if they had one -- home, wife, dog, that is, or any combination.)

Wooden Boy said...

puddles of everything

There's always an urge to fall for the illusion of snow's purity; perfectly undercut here.