It’s not the first shoveling of the driveway that gets you. You finish, the driveway is clear, your partner’s car backs out and away, you go inside to warm up and have a fresh coffee … and you hear it. The unmistakable sound of the snowplow coming. Your head droops heavily to your chest. You don’t even have to look out of the front door, You know it will be waiting.
Yes. The dreaded plow row. In our case, a two metre swath of high speed blade compressed snow thrown across the base of the driveway, I practice mindfulness, stretch and go out for part two.
My problem is that I love snow shoveling. I will go up and down the street helping the older folks. I used to enjoy this until my wife pointed out, “Honey, you are the older folk!” Still, if they couldn’t sink Molly Brown, they’re not going to stop me from shoveling!
There is a certain joy to the swish and toss of each bladeful of snow, to the patterns of removal that are like a Bansky in ice crystals, to the satisfaction of seeing the once knee deep drifts cleared, and the runway ready for takeoff. Until you hear the plow. There is not a snow shoveler among us who does not shiver in despair at the sound of the plow approaching. Some stand and curse with raised fists (I confess), and others merely retreat indoors for a cup of Zen tea, rest and return gracefully. Do not go gently into that snowy night! The roar of the plow is our call to action!
That and the sound of a neighbour starting up a snowblower. Top on my list of hated tools is the leaf blower, an obscene serenity obliterating device that was invented to consume energy and make the broom extinct. Curlers take note. Next is the snowblower. There you are, enjoying the tranquility of a winter day, gleefully tossing shovel blades of individually unique six sided crystals hither and yon, when the roaring motor and burning stench of petrochemical fuel fills the air.
Sure, over zealous shoveling can lead to heart attacks, but that’s how winter thins the herd. Snowblowers thin the planet! Alas, the days when real Canadians used to shovel their driveways seem to be fading.
Until that day is over, I stand, shovel ready to meet the plow!
*image from hardhathunter.com