Meanwhile, in Newfoundland…

The data are in for the great snow emergency of 2020 in Portland, Oregon: it did not get down to the predicted twelve degrees, or within twenty degrees of it; snow accumulation topped out in the neighborhood of zero inches. Most citizens are accounted for and those who are not are assumed to be the kind that never answer a text anyway.

In contrast, our friend Kelly, an authentic Canadian, flew to Newfoundland recently and hasn’t been seen since. In fact, Newfoundland in its entirety has disappeared under several meters of indigenous locally-sourced weather, a.k.a. Freedom Flakes. There is enough space between flakes to slide out some internet but otherwise there is no exit hole, and consequently Kelly has yet to surface. She did emit a photograph of snow completely covering her back door (not her personal back door, but the door to her house) and it is assumed and hoped that she and her loved ones are well supplied with cod tongues, scrunchions, and seal flipper pie, which is the ideal comestible for emergency rationing. I have tasted seal before and can vouch for its usefulness in helping you lose interest in food altogether.

Kelly is in there somewhere.

Northern people have the awesomest excuses for not coming to work.

I’ll be as sorry as anyone if it is eventually discovered that Newfoundland has sunk below the sea without first disgorging our Kelly, but the thing is, seeing the picture of the door buried in snow immediately brought to mind a favorite fantasy of mine from childhood. I used to imagine that we’d get snow so deep that I’d have to open the door and tunnel to my neighbor Susie’s house. She’d be tunneling too. There would be side shoots and mazes. It would be fabulous.

And whereas it might have occurred to me that it would be a logistical crapshoot for Susie’s tunnel to meet up with my tunnel, it did not once cross my mind that you can’t dig a tunnel if you don’t have any place to stash the diggin’s. My mother was a tidy woman and would not have approved of storing excavated snow in the living room. No, for some reason I thought I could just punch the tunnel through.

(I also thought, as a child, that ants lived in little sand pyramids, and not that the pyramids were just what they quarried from their underground tunnels. It is a wonder, given my deductive powers, that I ever got a science degree at all.)

What this does show, though, is the consistency of my inner spiritual habitat. Sensible people the world over imagine coming back as something that flies through the air, or frolics in the sea, or thunders across the plain. All my dreams take place in burrows. They might have gingham check cafe curtains and cheery cupboards but they are decidedly underground, and they have nooks and crannies and special rooms for special purposes.

Early Murr and friend

Otters have dens and guest rooms and bonus rooms and rec rooms and pantries and potties but the scary underwater entrance holes are a deal-breaker. A prairie dog arrangement is more to my taste. Prairie dogs live in towns and the towns are subdivided into “wards,” although they missed a bet not calling them “boroughs.” It is a tunneler’s paradise. A prairie dog can pop down an entrance hole and you won’t know where it will pop up again, thanks to all the gerrymandering.

Meanwhile, back in Newfoundland, provincial preparedness personnel are proposing an air drop to pepper the population with poutine packets, pointing to their penetrating properties. Hang on, Kelly.