It’s Time to Bow Down to Boreas, God of the North Wind, and Khione, Goddess of Snow

All right, this is getting ridiculous.

After that freak snowstorm last October, we haven’t had one freaking flake descend here in southeastern Connecticut, and those of us who crave cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, building igloos and other fun activities are sick and tired of moping around, staring at bare ground.

I realize most people are grateful we aren’t shoveling driveways every other day or skidding off the road as we did during last year’s record snowfall season, but I’ve always felt anyone who complains about snow in Connecticut should move to Mississippi, Alabama, Arizona or some other godforsaken state.

All right, I haven’t exactly been moping. I’ve taken advantage of this winter’s snowlessness by extending my rock construction and logging operations – ordinarily unheard of in January. A couple of weeks ago I finished building a stone cairn that measures about 8 feet tall at its high point and about 10 feet wide at the base, a monumental project that I’m sure will mystify archaeologists eons from now.

In so doing I’ve pretty much exhausted the supply of available rocks within a few hundred yards of our house, so I’ll have to wait at least until next spring, when frost will have pushed a fresh crop to the surface, to resume my Sisyphusian labors.

Last week I cut down a giant oak that had been split by Tropical Storm Irene, along with an even bigger silver birch that was intruding in an area where I plan to plant evergreen seedlings in the spring.

But I already have all the firewood I need for this year and next cut, split and stacked in my two woodsheds, along with a good start on my supply for the following season. I can’t get too far ahead, though, or else the wood left outside will rot. Maybe I should build a third woodshed.

I have Cordova envy. How great it would be to live in that Alaskan hamlet in which 15 feet of snow has piled up so far this season, with more on the way!

All right, maybe that’s too much, but at this point I’d settle for one foot. Heck, I’ll even take an inch.

Thursday was the last straw. A perfectly good low-pressure system brings tons of precipitation, and what happens? It all falls as rain thanks to hated warm air blowing up from the South. Now the trails are a muddy mess.

Too bad we no longer curse the weather gods, as the ancients once did. We blame climate change, global warming or the greenhouse effect.

Me, I’d rather bow down to a legendary deity such as Boreas, the purple-winged god of the north wind, who swept down from the mountains of Thrake and froze the air with his icy breath.

When looking for a mate, Boreas, who is often depicted with his cheeks puffed out, exhaling a frozen gust, stumbled upon a comely maiden frolicking in a flower-covered meadow. This was Oreithyia, nicknamed “Mountain Gale,” the daughter of King Erekhtheus of Athens. In typical Greek god fashion, Boreas carried Oreithyia off and had his way with her.

The couple bore Khione, who became the goddess of snow.

So I beseech you, O Mighty Boreas: Blow your icy breath on New England, and may your daughter Khione bring us her white gift of the gods.

Otherwise, we’re all going to the house of Hades in a handbasket.






Reader Comments


Go Ahead Hornet, Make My Day: Dispatch from the Front Lines of the Bug Wars

Every year at this time, just as we’re enjoying favorite outdoor activities after having been bundled up, hunkered down or cooped up all winter, a Pandora’s Box of stinging, blood-sucking, destructive, disease-spreading insects...

Swimming and Kayaking Among Snapping Turtles: Be Glad At Least There Aren't Any Komodo Dragons or Saltwater Crocodiles Nearby

While kayaking on Bush Pond on the Ledyard/North Stonington border the other day I noticed something thrashing around among the lily pads.

Kayaking With a Migrating Son Amid Migrating Seals on Fishers Island

With our son, Tom, back home in Connecticut for just a week from Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula, we’ve tried to pack in an abundance of such favorite activities as whitewater kayaking, frigid plunges in the lake and running with...

Who Needs Clean Air and Pure Water? Bring Back Unrestricted Strip Mining, DDT and Toxic Waste Dumps to Make America Great Again

The main problem with President Donald Trump’s efforts to boost the economy by eliminating oppressive environmental regulations is that they don’t go far enough.

The Good Book Has It Backwards: To Every Season, There Is More Than One Thing

Forget about what Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says (and Pete Seeger sang) about "To everything there is a season.' As far as I’m concerned, it’s always the right time for fun and adventure.

Kayaking Over the Falls on the Salmon River

The thunder of tumbling water roared as I gripped my paddle the other day, waiting my turn to plunge over a 4-foot drop at a broken dam on the Salmon River in East Hampton.

Home Is Where the Hut Is (Warning: Don't Read Part of This if You Have a Weak Stomach)

Embarking on a winter expedition to Mount Katahdin a few years ago, I hooked up with a few casual acquaintances accompanied by other climbers I only met just as we began the long drive from southeastern Connecticut to northern Maine.