Philomena, the storm of the century, was forecast days ago, but people kept saying it just wouldn’t happen: Madrid doesn’t get snow, not the kind that shuts down a city. On Thursday, it spat flurries, and people said there’s your snow, but El Pais said well, that was just un aperitivo, so I crossed my fingers, my toes, and hoped with all my heart — because by then the news from home was so grievous, so heartrending, that the best thing to do seemed to be to turn away from CNN and walk toward the light.
Snow in places that usually don’t see it covers a multitude of sins and brings out the best in people, and if there was ever a time that called for that — now would be it.
We overslept this morning, Madrid tamped down like a city inside a snow globe, and went out without taking the time for breakfast. An urban center lacking the sound of cars is a beautiful place — more than anything, I wanted to experience it before the snow plows got out, the Spanish woke up, and the beautiful white blanket covering Madrid had become yellow slush.
A friend says someone they know, a native Madrileño of 73, described today as unedito, which literally translates to unpublished, but in this case has to mean unheard of.
People are skiing on Gran Vía:
At one o’clock this morning, there was a giant snowball fight on the plaza in front of the main Corte Ingles department store.
There weren’t many people out at 8:30 a.m., when we first waded out into the snow that covered Calle Princesa. Some wore ski clothes, others, plastic garbage bags over their sneakers.
But — and this is the thing that lifted my heart — when they left their apartments this morning, each and every one of them reached, out of new habit, without getting angry about it, without debating it, for their face mask.