Today marks the first day of Meteorological spring, and by simply typing that piece of trivia I can sense I’m the guy that won’t be invited to another party. It’s an optimistic thought, especially during this winter. Winter is still here, but it’s just starting to enter retirement. It still has life to live, but death is always on its mind.
In February I wrote an apology to Winter and I am now retracting that apology. To be honest, I wasn’t sorry, and now that Winter is becoming an old man I’m not afraid to say it. It’s dumping 3-6 inches on us as I type, and 3-6 inches on us Wednesday, but adjusted to 2015 expectations that’s a dusting. By apologizing I was accepting that I was the victim of this winter’s Lifetime movie. I did nothing wrong to deserve the beating I received, and even if winter promises he’ll never do it again, I won’t take him back (until the end of 2015 of course, when I’ve forgotten the damage he’s done).
I asked Winter to give me one 46 degree day in the 10 day forecast. That seemed like very little to ask. While there’s something depressing about winter in general we always get a break with a 50 degree day or 2. It reminds us that there’s reason to live. This Winter that didn’t happen so a 46 degree day is something to smile about.
But this winter’s caused me to think and act differently and put my life in danger to prepare my property for the disasters that headline the local evening news. I’ve climbed out of bedroom windows to shovel snow off of roof corners. I had to think about which direction I should fall to receive the minimal bodily harm. I’ve climbed onto an old and grandfather-built shed to clear hundreds of pounds of snow before the threat of rain. The shed houses enough rotary cultivators and other rusty and vintage garden tools to stock the prop-house for the next Saw movie. They would not gently break a fall through the roof. I’ve accepted that my mudroom needs some remodeling after a few buckets worth of water dripped from the door frame. I’ve accepted many of these things because millions of others are going through the exact same thing.
The act of snow removal has become an art, and one that I’ve become proud of. Six feed of snow surround my two cars in a perfect rectangle. Chipping away at ice on the driveway is an exercise I can only do when the sun’s at a certain angle. When I’m able to get a large chunk of ice in one piece it makes me happier than I’d like to admit. I expect house guests to comment on the wonderful snow removal job I’ve done in the same way that I’d expect compliments for an impressive dinner spread or bathroom remodel.
This weekend I took snow removal a step further. My street is fairly busy and narrow and snow banks have become comically high. Parking spots on the street are already well-established and some potential spots are a lost-cause with 8 feet of filthy snow in the way with no place to put it. I climbed onto the snow bank closest to my house and shaved 2 feet off of the pile, displacing the snow to the potential parking spot that had long been lost to recent blizzards and chunky plow excess. But this one bank got me nowhere since 4 other snow banks block my view as well. Running on the high of the first bank I shaved several feet off of snow banks down the road.
As I stood on each bank I waved at oncoming traffic and pedestrians, and often got a wave and smile in return. While I thought the act was neighborly at the time I can now see it as slightly deranged. I was hacking away at giant piles of icy snow with my metal garden shovel with all of my might.
If it was the end of a movie the camera would rise up while filming me from above. I would raise my shovel in the air and scream up at the rising camera “They can take our street parking, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!!! (to reduce the blind spots)”.