Randy Ford Author-on Black Snow in Vienna

      Black snow?  Was this real or not?   People in Wien (Vienna), after all, used coal to heat their homes; and Wien, though beautiful and ugly, a city bewitched by history and music, magnificent buildings and wide boulevards, had streets lined with tenements that were anything but picturesque.   It seems at least possible then that when it snowed it turned black as it came down.   This is another example of how I have trouble separating what was true and what was not .   In this case, I distinctively remember black snow; I had an explanation; and I was the one there.   Who can dispute what I saw?

      Now back to what we know for sure: there were certain recorded facts.   We know that year (1972) the second snow in Wien didn’t occur until the end of January.   We also know what such a mild winter meant, that the seeds of the winter crop froze because there was no snow to protect them.   But what made us experts about crops?  We didn’t grow up on farms. 

      There are things we know and things we don’t; what is true is more than likely logical; what is false is more than likely not (or illogical).   Given that, we know then that the scarcity of snow hurt the ski business, which usually attracted a lot of foreigners.   (Now wait a minute, what about snow making machines? The ski business would still be hurting, wouldn’t it?)  Now about that black snow.   You sort of have to take what I say as true until you run across a contradictory statement such as this from a letter written that winter from Wien: “Even Randy and I are pleased to see it turning white.   If it’s going to be cold and grey anyway, we might as well have some snow.”  It was cold.

Randy Ford

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