Where snow falling is implausible | Permanent Guest, Jan. 3

My oldest Mississippi friend called me the day of the big snowstorm and said, “I can’t believe you are surrounded by snow.”

My oldest Mississippi friend called me the day of the big snowstorm and said, “I can’t believe you are surrounded by snow.”

This equals my aunt’s exclamation after my first earthquake. “To think that Little Sally has been in an earthquake!”

Down there, earthquakes and snow are unknown except in movies.

I once said, “I never knew anyone who went to Washington State and returned alive.”

(This may or may not be true but it makes for a good conversational moment.)

Blizzards and earthquakes are in that category, dangerous if not lethal.

I should let them think that I am heroic if only for a moment, braving such dangers, but I can’t. This last snowfall did leave me a bit chastened.

We were caught on top of the hill unable to go down or up, and the electricity did go off, so we were discombobulated for a few hours.

But there were no heroics, unless walking a dog on icy paths and worrying about breaking your hip, ankle, wrist or head.

Actually the past two weeks hasn’t been so bad. The snow is quite forgiving. Yards jammed with overflowing garbage cans look quite charming under a foot or two of white.

Junk vanishes. Gardens become showplaces. Houses look related not competitive. And the people. Snow is forgiving to them, too.

This came to mind last week when islanders moved around in cocoons of down, fleece, boots, socks, wool hats and gloves. No longer did size or shape matter.No longer did that extra five pounds show. No longer did fashion reign. Warmth reigned. Safety reigned.

We became anonymous and non-competitive unless you might have said, “My parka is every bit as good as your parka.” I doubt that happened.

I did spot a pair of white boots with white fur tops. Quite handsome. Then there was that yellow hand-knit scarf that draped a thin neck.

But beside those moments of consumer crisis, my down coat, red wool hat, off-white boots, 10 years old, did just fine. The boots failed me not. I did not fall and break anything and the down coat kept the chills away.

Back to those “down there.”

Tornados are every bit as dangerous as any earthquake. Hurricanes are lethal.

And the insects! Scorpions, black widow and brown recluse spiders, the snakes, cottonmouth, moccasins and coral, one bite is your last bite.

We don’t have anything to equal those.

If I had a choice between snowdrifts and humidity for four months, it would be snowdrifts after a mere second of consideration.

Perhaps the statement should be, “I never knew anyone from Bainbridge Island that went to Mississippi and returned alive.”

I could call my oldest friend and say, “To think you have lived through a tornado. A hurricane. A summer of 90 percent humidity.”

Out of respect for those “down there” I stop before I mention the clothes people wear in 90 percent humidity.

As I have said before, “The scene isn’t pretty.” Few clothes reveal far too much.

Oh, to have a little forgiving snow in a Mississippi summer!

Sally Robison is a Winslow artist and the author of “The Permanent Guest’s Guide to Bainbridge Island.”