On the street where I live, the sounds that echo across the frigid Omaha snowscape are the roar of the snow blower and the scrape of the snow shovel.
The snow, it falls silently.
The schools are closed, and even the malls will lock their doors and extinguish the lights of Christmas commerce in about an hour. The snow's falling harder than ever, the blizzard part is yet to come, and my city is shutting -- and hunkering -- down.
By nightfall, on the street where I live -- on the streets where millions of Midwesterners live -- the only sound to be heard will be that of the roaring wind. That, and snow blasting against the windows of the houses where we live.
Everything's canceled, and only the foolish will venture out. Well, the foolish and the cops. But at least the cops are getting paid to fight the losing battle with a December blizzard.
I FINISHED Round 1 of the day's shoveling a few hours ago. My coat and shoes probably have dried by now -- my Nebraska Cornhuskers wool cap, too -- my gut is full of hot dark-roast coffee, and it's about time for me to do battle with about four fresh inches of snow.
If I'm lucky, I'll get the walks and driveway cleared before the wind comes howling across the Plains, blowing the snow that's falling and the snow that already has fallen.
Out here in the great Midwest, all God's creatures are trying to beat out the December gusts. I'm trying to get the snow cleared before it all starts to drift, and the squirrels, sparrows, cardinals and blue jays are trying to fill their stomachs before digging in for the evening.
I think I'll have another cup of coffee and a bite to eat before rejoining the battle. Because it's December in Omaha and, truth be told, I wouldn't have it any other way.