This morning I looked out the windows, saw the telltale gleaming shine on the driveway and road, and felt my heart sink. Of all of the crappy meteorological phenomena we encounter during a typical Midwestern winter, freezing rain is — by far — the worst.
Snowstorms are inconvenient, but you quickly adapt to driving through snow and can shovel your way out of most predicaments. Sleet is grey and depressing, but manageable. With freezing rain, there is no hope. You can’t even get down your front steps without slipping, because everything is covered in a layer of wet ice. The tree limbs and shrubs bow down and sometimes break under the weight. Streets become like skating rinks because there is no traction, and even the gentle slope of your driveway becomes a difficult, ice-sheathed obstacle. This morning, on our very brief walk, even the sure-footed Penny was slipping and skidding. And I can assure you that the quick and unpredictable movements of a leashed dog are not conducive to careful human movement on frozen streets and sidewalks.
So I sit here, secure in the knowledge that today’s commute will be a white-knuckler. It will take about two times as long as normal. We’ll see cars that have spun out and crashed into the median barrier. We’ll be told on the radio that only injury accidents need to be reported to the police. And we’ll pray that, as we are tooling along, we don’t experience that dreaded initial loss of traction and “here we go” feeling that makes freezing rain the worst winter weather of all.