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Beijingers might dodge the snow, but I love it
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2010-01-07 13:22

When I awoke Saturday morning to noticeable snowfall on my windowsill, my reaction was far from annoyance or any type of discomfort. "Good," said to myself. "It sure is needed."

I have been in Beijing three years and seen a paltry combined accumulation of about six inches in that time - and most of that came earlier this winter. Cold, windy weather without snowfall is merely a hardship. It's the snow that makes winter worthwhile.

Beijingers might dodge the snow, but I love it

Beijingers might dodge the snow, but I love it

Where I'm from, winter has always meant snow and lots of it. Beijingers seemed somewhat daunted by the recent weather, but in the mountains of Colorado, last weekend in northern China would be standard, run-of-the mill weather event quickly cleared from the roads and sidewalks and well-tracked by skiers. In a day or two residents would be expecting more of the same.

I've seen it snow so hard in the ski area of Vail that snowdrifts covered the tops of houses and even ski lifts themselves. One now-legendary Christmas storm in Denver, the capital of Colorado, so completely buried the city that it was still digging out months later. The mayor lost his job over that one. He may not be able to control the weather, but his administration was responsible for the snowplows and trucks.

Drivers in Beijing might feel the same. I did not see a single snowplow on the streets where I live in the Liangmaqiao area, even though it seems authorities had ample warning to prepare for the heavy storm that was predicted several days before. By noon Sunday the roads were a wicked mush of packed and unplowed snow, obviously the result of heavy buses and the few brave cars that ventured out. By yesterday morning the soup had frozen over into sheet ice.

Of course the city can't justify buying the number of snowplows needed last weekend to battle a storm that comes once every decade or so. Wise car owners and taxis stayed off the road, people pitched in to shovel, and by yesterday transport had resumed to a semblance of normalcy.

Heavy snow can be challenging, but it is also comforting in its pristine whiteness, reassuring that things are as they should be. Perhaps instinctively we know that the snowmelt will later bring greenery and the water so necessary to farmers, or for that matter urban residents.

Until then, I say bring on more of the same. It would make for a glorious spring. 
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