030913SNOPSY3.mp3

Robert Frost — a name so clearly apt for the season — romanticized winter in his poem

“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” In these two lines, admittedly out of metaphoric context, he wrote: “The only other sound’s / The sweep /  Of easy wind / And downy flake.” 

But after a winter of snow, Mike Tracey, shoveling a sidewalk full of flakes is not feeling the romantic side of winter.

“I been at this for a while, so don’t mind me, I’m not in the mood,” Tracey said. 

Tracey, a building superintendent near Harvard Square, said enough already. He’s one of several people I ran into in my march through slush to measure the snow psyche of residents and visitors to the area. Snow Psyche? OK, we made it up, but I think you get the idea. At least Lenny Silber, a Cambridge public works employee does. Sitting in his truck next to two city snowplows, he looks exhausted.

“I’m definitely tired of it,” Silber said. “I hope it never snows again. I’ve been at it 41 years and so I’ve seen a lot.”

It’s also been rough going for Patty Potter of Cambridge. 

“Our power went out,” Potter said. “We didn’t know when it was going to come on.”

But she’s philosophical about it.

“I like that that you don’t know what’s going to happen and that you’re at the mercy of the weather instead of the rest of life that you always make and try to control,” she said.

Mike Labelle and his family are visiting from Montreal.

“I think I’ve had enough of this winter for this year,” he said. “Even though we’re from Montreal and we’re used to winter, we’ve had enough now.” 

But this winter’s snowfall, including this unexpected drop of up to 22 inches in Massachusetts, is putting smiles on the faces of some here.

“I love it,” said James Olcart, a skier from Maine. “It’s a little different being in the city, when it’s hard to get around, but the weather itself, so much for the groundhog. Said that winter was over. Loving it.”

But there are also serious consequences to so many bound days snow.

Seda Ebrahimi, director of the Cambridge Eating Disorders Center, said for individuals confined to their homes, a seemingly never-ending winter can bring on various problems, including eating disorders.

“Well, I think as the weather gets worse in terms of cold and snow, many people might be confined to their homes and feeling lonely, feeling isolated, feeling irritable,” Ebrahimi said. “And with access to food, and so I think there’s more opportunity for emotional eating or perhaps binge eating.”

Winter and 22 inches of snow impacts us in other ways as well. In the delirium of winter, folks on the streets told me they long for the smell and sounds of summer, from the sound of the waves and the Beach Boys to the smell of the mountains.   

But for the moment, the seasonal sound you’re likely to hear is the swish of slush and shovels piling snow on top of seemingly never-eroding snow banks, and the sound of snow psyche gone wild.