Saturday, December 15, 2007

Another Snowstorm Coming

We are due for a big snowstorm this weekend.

As long as it is light, fluffy snow, I'll be happy.

The only problem is that it may dump two feet by exactly the time I am due to take my car in to finally get all fixed up again.

Well, I can really test my snow tires! And if anything further bad happens, better for it to happen on the way to the shop instead of coming back from its being all spiffed up! (The weather forecast for when I am due to pick it up again is snowless -- at the moment, anyway. These things can change...)

I was wrong about the local newspaper reporting our latest two inches as "trace." It actually said, "none." But I say, "if you can shovel it, it exists."

I did get the Ridge cleared from my friend's driveway. We had warmer temps yesterday, so I took time in the middle of the day to tackle the 2x3 ft ridge of slightly softened icy rocks. First I took a heavy metal garden shovel and broke it all up. Then I shoveled the broken ice chunks away. It took almost an hour.

You know all of that helpful advice to "push not lift" when shoveling snow? Whoever puts out that advice doesn't know what they are talking about. You run out of room to push show aside. You have no choice but to lift it up over the 2-3 ft high snow walls that form along the edge of your driveway, or the 3-4 ft high towers that form at the foot of your driveway.

I really am getting quite the workout! My snow shoveling muscles are, surprisingly, not sore at all any more -- even after yesterday's heavy ice hauling.

When I was in the thick of it, I saw two joggers run past, and I could not help but wonder if they hired people to clear their driveways, or if they used snow blowers. I don't know, of course. And even if so, I don't really blame them.

But even though there are times that my commitment to doing my shoveling myself brings me to tears, and it would be easy for me to hire out this chore, I stick with it for the spiritual and physical value of this kind of honest hard work. If I hired someone to do it, that person would probably use a snow blower. My using my own muscles and effort to do it seems a good way to get exercise. My exercise serves a practical purpose that benefits others besides me. And my doing it this way expends energy in a way that is not contributing to global warming.

What I am also appreciating is the way that I am feeling more in relationship with nature. The demands of the weather carry their own necessity that is indifferent to the other kinds of urgencies that drive my life. I must be more aware of nature. I must try to anticipate and plan for the complexities that the weather may bring.

This is true every winter, but I am more aware this year, in part because we are getting more snow, earlier, and in part because I was already behind in important dimensions of my work, for other reasons, and so the unusual amount of snow has felt like more of a burden than I've let on so far in my postings (in my attempt through writing to cast a positive spin on this dimension of the endless complexity of my life)

So it is nature that determines my exercise schedule now. And I like this. Nature is my coach, giving me different kinds of workouts each time. The onset of cold weather is initially hard to bear, but there is nothing like getting out in it and working hard to help you to reckon with it, adjust to it, make peace with it. My spirit rises to the challenge, and I am starting to feel like a better person: more aligned with the simple but compelling realities of nature and weather.

This is why I love living in a cold northern land. Life really does get harder in the winter, but reckoning with this is good for me.

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