On January first, we turned on the heat. It doesn’t actually kick on until today, the 2nd, since it was so warm yesterday our apartment was 72 degrees and the thermostat was set on 68. However, the temperature starts to drop into the range of temperature even us Ohioans call “bitterly cold” by this morning. In fact, when I check the weather in Columbus, it’s the same temperature there as it is in Chattanooga–a whooping 21 degrees.
We drive out to Lookout Mountain hoping I will have my first flight off the big hill. We aren’t optimistic when we check the weather and see 15 mph winds predicted. When we step outside, I figure our only hope is that the valley where the training hills are located is somehow sheltered from this wind.
But, it is not to be. We set up my glider as the instructors watch the wind socks. An instructor takes a test flight off the big hill and does so many dips and dives as the wind tosses him around that we all know I won’t be flying today. Instead, I get a thorough lesson in glider preflight checks, so I at least it’s not a waste of time.
Pat helps me disassemble the glider and then we head up to the office to work on our written tests.
After spending the day working on our tests, I watch the sunset through the back door of the hang gliding office. The door opens onto a deck that hangs over the valley. The wind is blowing so hard the air coming through the crack around the door blows the hair back off my face. I think about opening the door to take a picture of the sunset, but it is so cold in the office already, I can’t bring myself to open the door. I shoot through the door with my iPhone.
When at last we leave for the day, snow is blowing through the beams of the headlights. After a half mile or so, the snow disappears as we move into lower elevations. We are relieved, having been forewarned that everything shuts down if there is snow on the ground–the area doesn’t have equipment to clear the roads.
We make our way home and are grateful we’ve turned the heat on already. As we settle in for the evening, Pat looks out the window and says, “Look, honey, it’s raining sideways!” When I look out the window, there is snow blowing so fast through the light from a street light that it really does look like sideways rain. But, it’s snow. Because it is only visible in the light from the streetlight, it looks like the street light is some kind of snow machine blowing snow onto the street. It stops as suddenly as it started. There is no snow on the ground. Not even the grass shows a dusting of white. So much for our first snow.