What is it about the dark and flashing lights?
With all this winter going on this year, comes the need for snow plows. They kinda fascinate me. When I get up at Oh-Dark-Thirty, I’ll sometimes hear them as they rumble down our neighborhood, and part the curtains to watch them do so, which always reminds me of a similar event as a kid.
Back in 1970’s Lake Clear, New York, during the gnarly winters, I used to wake up at weird hours then, too. And at times I’d hear that same rumble of the snow plows. Sometimes, as I laid in bed looking at the ceiling in the dark, I may even have seen the blue lights spilling through my closed Civil War-blue curtains and painting the walls and ceiling with alternating illumination. I’d always hurry to get up and part those curtains to look at the dark Route 30 in front of our c. 1880s house and spy the big old beast either plowing by, or—as it would also sometimes do—park in front of our property, just across from our neighbor and good friend, Marie Mussen’s, trailer home (we called them then). It would just sit there, emergency lights flashing, headlights on and slicing through the heavily falling snow.
Oh, how I loved this secret time of the night!
I would just stare at the snowplow from my second floor perch. Take in the lateness of the hour, knowing pretty much everyone I know in our Hamlet of Lake Clear was fast asleep. I would watch the flashing lights. Listen to the controlled rumbling of the snowplow’s powerful engine. Know there was some guy in there somewhere…driving and directing that huge metal beast with the killer plow and sander on it…venturing into unplowed territories of our roads to make them safer for all of us to drive when we all finally awoke hours from now.
But as I hung out there, my chin perhaps resting on overlapped hands on the gray-stained sill of my bedroom window, I drank in the coolness of this lonely hour and wondered about the person who was doing this for us.
Wondered what that driver was doing way down there, in the cab of his snow plow, just sitting there.
Until he revved up the beast’s engine and took its blue flashing lights away with it into the heavily snowing darkness…alone…continuing to bravely plow that which most of us were trying to avoid…scrapping aside building snow and ice…and maybe, just maybe, also stirring the imagination of another such curious mind farther down the road that also happened to be awake at this wonderful, lonely hour, and would also be sleepily peering outside his or her bedroom window….