I didn’t start out scared of snow. As a child I happily played in it—building snowmen, igloos, and caves. Snow was wonderful, beautiful, enjoyable.
Then I learned to drive.
When I went away to college, I found myself having to drive in the snow either going the long way around from Logan through Tremonton or driving the short way through Sardine Canyon into Brigham City. Twice I had near accidents. The first, a blizzard caught me in the canyon. I slid off the road, terrified but uninjured. The second happened while going around the long way. The freeways were not plowed, the snow thick and heavy. There was an accident ahead, and I tried to avoid it. I hit my brakes and spun around facing oncoming traffic. Again, scared, but uninjured.
Tonight, I traveled to Layton for my book club at Barnes and Noble. Going there was fine, no snow, just rain. Coming home was a whole other story.
My children were at home. My oldest was babysitting. I needed to get to them.
I decided to take the back roads, go slowly. Layton wasn’t too bad. Kaysville was horrible. Farmington, completely insane. The worst was near Davis High School down through Cherry Hills. I couldn’t see ahead of me. It was a near whiteout. There were no tracks to follow and it was difficult to know if I was on the correct side of the road. I drove with both hands on the wheel, white knuckling it the whole way. I could hear the slush and feel the pull of the snow on my tires.
I wasn’t going to make it home.
My van is old—eleven years old. It only has front wheel drive. I live on a hill. I had my doubts. Worst case scenario—I park at the bottom of hill and hike it up in my high-heel boots.
I am a mother after all.
A truck followed behind me, hugging my bumper the whole way. I tried not to worry about him. I couldn’t. If he slid into me, boy would I let him have it though—the idiot. What was he thinking?
My old, clunky van is amazing—the best $6,000 we ever spent. Our return on the van has been tenfold. I made it up the cemetery road (steep road, but the lesser of my steep hill options). Next to come, my hill. Slowly, but surly, while forcing those wheels to spin with all their might, I made it up the hill. Now to tackle my driveway, my wonderful son was out there trying to shovel a path for me. The snow quickly covered his attempts—what a good boy.
I am home. I am safe. The van is in the garage. It doesn’t matter how many successful journeys I have had driving in the snow, I am still scared and afraid. I don’t care how many years of experience I have at driving, I feel brand new every time the snow falls.
Driving in the snow is one of my biggest fears, followed by heights and snakes. I don’t think I will ever embrace driving in the snow. Maybe that is a good thing—fear keeps me cautious and makes me drive slowly. Fear keeps me alive.