Lighthouse Letters
By Sharma Krauskopf

This is an article by Sharma Krauskopf from Michigan who fell in love with Scotland - and decided to buy a lighthouse keepers' cottage at Eshaness, a remote location in Shetland, in the far north of Scotland and live there each winter. These pages were previously part of the "Scottish Radiance e-magazine Web site which was created by Sharma.

Snow is Snow

Eshaness Lighthouse in the Snow - Graphic by Sharma Krauskopf

Having lived in a state that has a great deal of snow usually during the winter I thought I knew all about snow. Well I was wrong. In the last few weeks at the lighthouse we have had all kinds of different snow. Many of which came in the same day.

Michigan has blizzards so when we got a blizzard warning I thought I have been through this before. Wrong! It started to snow hard on a Sunday afternoon. Then the wind started to blow. I mean really blow. The gale force wind drove the snow into every nook and cranny.

The next morning when I got up the sun was shinning brightly but there were drifts in some places surrounding the lighthouse that were higher than me. The wind had twisted the snowdrifts into beautiful graceful shapes. Snow had been drilled into the cracks of the doors so they would not open or shut. The bin where I keep my coal for heating was full of snow and the door had never been opened. It took me almost 2 hours to dig a path out to the gate. Not that it would do me any good as no one could reach me until a gigantic snowplow came along to crash through the drifts which had turned the lighthouse road flat instead of hilly.

The snow from the blizzard melted in two days and what did we get but snow showers. Okay, I said to myself, "I love the beauty of snow showers." Well, a snow shower here always comes with a sharp rise in the speed of the wind. Usually the wind rises to gale force and the snow becomes more like miniature knives being driven through the air. It is not a pleasant experience to be out in one of what I have come to call a mini blizzard. If you keep your eyes on the horizons you can see the dark gray clouds coming and avoid being caught in one of these showers. I have decided they are more like snow attacks then showers.

Finally there is blowing snow. This is snow already on the ground that is driven by the gale force winds. It looks like dust tumbling along the ground. Actually, It is quite beautiful but not if you have to walk or drive in it. It is a total white out. You cannot see a thing. The other nasty part of it is the sea spray gets mixed in with the snow. That means it gets all over your glasses or windshields and makes it worse.

Oh, you are saying but we have snow worse than that where I live. You may have a lot worse snow than we have at Eshaness on the Shetland Islands. The point of this little note is snow is NOT snow. Snow is different everywhere and comes in many different types and with a lot of differing consequences. A Michiganer who thought she knew all about snow has learned she knew about Michigan snow not Shetland snow.

Guess what, a snow attack is assaulting the ocean outside my window right now....

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