It's cold and sunny here today, but the weather forecast for tomorrow says that a storm coming from the south is going to combine with something else, resulting in a "nor'easter" that may drop as much as sixteen inches of snow on southern Vermont.
Or not. The anticipated blizzard may dwindle to a couple of flurries, leaving school children disappointed (it takes a major, major storm around here for schools to even delay opening), commuters relieved, and some of us embarrassed.
Several times each winter the same situation arises: a snow storm is forecast for a day when I have plans to be away from home. Do I cancel my plans or do I ignore the weather and go about my business as if I were in, say, Atlanta? Although I am a lot braver about driving on snowy roads than I was when we first moved here, my daring does not approach that of my spouse, who will blithely drive into the teeth of a blizzard.
The easiest thing would be to wait for the event to be cancelled, thus relieving me of all responsibility. But in Vermont cancellations tend to come, if at all, at the last minute, by which time one may be risking life and limb on the road.
Tomorrow morning, right when the blizzard is expected to hit, I'm supposed to drive half an hour to the first of a series of figure drawing sessions. This being a small community, it's important to show up for stuff, to encourage the organizers so they'll keep things going. On the other hand, if one gets oneself killed on the road, the community shrinks even more.
So--should I go to figure drawing tomorrow, or should I stay home? Either way, the potential for embarrassment is considerable. If I stay in, and we just get a couple of flakes, I will look foolish not only to others but to myself. But I'll also look foolish if I set out in the car and end up in a ditch and have to be rescued by strangers. This is what I mean by the horns of winter.
While I wait for developments, I check the online forecast frequently. I also use my personal forecasting method: the number of birds at the feeder. In my experience, if the weather is clear and calm but the feeder is mobbed, a storm is on the way.
I just looked and saw: a male cardinal, half a dozen chickadees, a flock of juncos, and a tiny nuthatch--a respectable showing, but not what I would call a mob. My guess is we won't get much snow.