• Gabriel Donio

Snowfall brings some peace and tranquility


Snowfall found outside The Gazette's building on 14 Tilton Street. (THG/Kristin Guglietti. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

By Friday of last week, careful observers could tell a winter storm had been forecast by driving by the parking lots of local markets. That old standby The Weather Channel called it a “long-duration snow event” and that was enough to help spring people into action.


It was the first significant snowfall since the pandemic began in the early months of 2020. Back then, the parking lots of markets were filled for a different reason, as people hoarded everything from bathroom tissue to groceries.


Thankfully, last week it was more about staples like eggs, bread and milk. Don’t ask me why an impending snowstorm makes people want to make and eat French toast. At least that’s what I always assume is happening when everyone buys those items.


Whatever the reason, people were stocking up long before the flakes started falling on Sunday. We don’t see much snow in Hammonton, so the beauty of it sticking to the ground and rooftops brought a smile. I also smiled when I thought about my family in New York and friends in New Hampshire, who know what it’s like to deal with real snow—the kind that’s measured in feet, not inches, each time there’s a snowstorm.


Compared to their storms, ours was more of a “dusting.” Then again, if we compare it to the lack of snow we’ve had since 2020, it was significant to us.


The snow brought the outdoor-type people out, and while I’ve ridden on the back of a snowmobile in Hammonton in days long past, these days I’m content to stay in the house with a hot cup of coffee, looking out the window as nature puts on a frigid show.


It all works: hot coffee, hot chocolate, hot tomato soup, fusilli with freshly made sauce (or gravy if you prefer), a cold adult beverage or freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies. (By the way, I’m not suggesting having all of this food and drink at once, or even having any of it during a snowstorm. All I’m saying is sitting inside your house with some good food and drink makes for a nice way to pass the time. Just pace yourself.)


During this past Sunday’s winter afternoon, the sky turned a slate gray. The flakes grew fat and fell slowly, easily visible against the dark profiles of houses, buildings and parking lots. The streets and sidewalks, cold enough by then, grew white. The storm was picking up a bit. I was reminded of “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” a Robert Frost poem Mr. Heston, our English teacher back then, had us memorize in English class at HHS.


“The only other sound’s the sweep/Of easy wind and downy flake.”


I wrote this week on a laptop at our kitchen table, looking out a bay window as the snowy scene unfolded in front of me on a quiet Sunday afternoon.


It all seemed peaceful and normal. We could use more peace and normality. The beauty and tranquility of snow, especially when there hasn’t been any significant accumulation in a long while, has a way of calming the mind.


If some white flakes falling for a few hours, or even days, helps make that happen, then I’m all for a few more snow days between now and spring. A brief break can refresh a person. As the lines that end that poem by Robert Frost state:


“These woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.”


Gabe Donio is the publisher of The Hammonton Gazette.