January 21, 2011

I live in the suburbs just outside Metro New York.  This winter it’s snowed every week. Up to 3 feet has accumulated in places. People are starting to complain.

Snow does slow down the rhythm of your day. Especially in the burbs. You need a car to get around and you have to count on the road crews to plow and salt if you need to get anywhere. There’s also the issue of your walkways, driveways and steps. Who’s doing the snow shoveling? Somebody has to shovel. If you have to commute to work and want to avoid the drive, you have to work at home. If you have to get to your job, you have to deal with delays. I work at home. I do it because I can, but I miss my studio and the routines I’ve established.

Last Thursday, a cub reporter for a local paper in a nearby town stopped me on the street. He had a professional camera in his hands. He asked if I would let him interview me – and I said yes. WHY NOT? I wondered what he wanted to ask.

He asked:  Do you like snow? SNOW?

I was so surprised by the question. Everywhere I looked the snow was piled high.

I said: I love snow. It’s beautiful most of the time. And, hey, it’s winter.  It’s supposed to snow in the winter (I can be very philosophical about the seasons). I remember lots of snow as a girl (see my comments below).

nikkal, squares in totems 3

We were due for more snow. I could smell it in the air, and we got a lot of snow the next day.

He asked: “Is it a problem for you? How do you cope with snow?”

I replied: It really isn’t a question of coping. It’s not really a problem for me. The roads get plowed so the inconvenience doesn’t last that long, and I can work at home. I don’t have the kind of job that requires me to be at a specific place. I make sure I have everything I need to do my work – the  media and tools I need.  I told him I am a collage artist and work with papers, glue and paint.

(The collage nearby was produced at the kitchen table at home last weekend.)

When I talked to the reporter, I wondered if he expected the answers I gave, and if anyone else he interviewed said they had a problem with snow. Would anyone admit they had a problem with snow?

I feel lucky I can work at home. But it does slow me down. There are distractions. There’s a different rhythm to the work that gets done. The light and the workspace are different.

Probably, everyone who isn’t a nurse, doctor, policeman or firefighter can work at home. Who else is so essential they have to be at work and can’t work at home?

The reporter took my picture. I gave him my business card and asked him to check out my website. I never got a copy of the newspaper and don’t know if my picture or the interview was in the paper.

nikkal, squares in totems 2

I rushed to my car to drive to the market to get milk and juice. My favorite milk (the one with 0% fat that tastes like whole milk) had disappeared from the shelves. The teenager at the checkout said the store was mobbed an hour earlier. He looked like he had been through an ordeal.

(The collage nearby was created during a day it snowed. The pieces remind me of blankets.)

With all the snow, and the time spent in the house, I’m catching up on a lot of email, organizing image files, and spending quality time planning a new step-by-step collage workshop. I will post results on my next blog –  it’s more how-to tips on Conjur Woman portrait collage inspired by Romare Bearden that is a follow up on an earlier blog titled Romare Bearden Conjur Woman and Collage.

Last night we got 4 more inches of snow. It was very cold and icy, but the roads were plowed and clear by mid-afternoon. I took the picture  (above) outside my front door at about 3:20 EST. We expect more snow next week.

Do you complain about the snow? Is it a hardship? Do you have to carpool? How do you get your work done if you can’t get to work? Or – is the snow something you enjoy? Does it bring back happy memories? Does it inspire you? Do you want to sit back, make yourself a soothing cup of tea and write about it?

nikkal, squares in a striped field

I have a memory of snow, and of being stranded with my family in a cabin in the Adirondack Mountains when I was a small girl. We got snowed in. We were visiting a very rustic couple (he hunted and fished and they lived an almost totally self-sufficient existence.

I don’t remember how we got outside the snow-blocked front door, but I do remember wearing snow shoes and walking on the high snow in the bright sunlight. It was magical.

The image nearby was created at the kitchen table and reminds me of a snowfield.

Thank you for your comments below.

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