Friday, January 20, 2012

The chronology of snow


I'm home from work, the caregiver has departed to make her way home, G is taken care of and snoozing on the couch, and the snow is pouring down. About two and a half inches so far.

I bundle up, take Oscar outside, and start clearing snow.

We may be at the halfway point of this storm, or not quite. But I like shoveling snow in increments, so this is a good time to start.

A lone remnant of nodding pink onion, still tied to its support.

Oscar is good company, but doesn't get the logic of shoveling. He tends to follow me, so with every pass, I ask him to move out of the way so I can make the next one. Occasionally he sits in a cleared area to wait for something interesting to happen. Then I can get into a rhythm of push and lift, push and lift. It is a dry and fluffy snow, easy to shovel.


I've finished the patio, the sidewalk in front of our house and the house north of us, the sidewalk and front walk of the house to our south, our front walk, steps, stoop, and driveway. Talked with our neighbors' mother / mother-in-law, who is there for the weekend to take care of her granddaughters while her son and daughter-in-law have a rare weekend away. And another inch has fallen in the hour I've worked, so I clear the patio again.

When I come inside and pull off my stocking hat, I see in the mirror that I don't just have hat hair, I have Ed Grimley hair.


I hear the sound of a snow blower and can see out the front windows that another neighbor is clearing part of our sidewalk. I'm glad I did the first pass of his walk for him, even though it wouldn't make much difference in his work load.

The light outside is the blue of snowy twilight, and still the snow comes.


Snow shovel scrapes on our driveway. I peer out the kitchen window as I prepare dinner, but it's too bright inside for me to see out. I crack open the back door and see one of the neighbor girls shoveling our driveway. I call my thanks, and tell her not to feel like she has to do the whole thing, but she calls back that she can finish it.


G is tucked into bed. I've been checking on the snow's progress through the evening, and now it has finally stopped. Oscar and I head back outside. The patio has another 3 inches since I last shoveled it, the driveway one and a half or so since our neighbor girl finished, but the sidewalks are clear. My snow blower neighbor must have come by again without my noticing.

It is very quiet, the quiet of muffled night. It's cold and still. The snow glitters in the light from the kitchen window.

I can hear another shoveler somewhere in the neighborhood, and the occasional shush of a car going by on the snowy road. Oscar barks when he hears a plane overhead. I hear an unusual number of planes as I shovel, and I think about all the tired and grateful passengers who had been on delayed or cancelled flights, and who are now on their way to where they should have been hours ago.

My shoveling is almost done, and I reach the bottom of the driveway at the road. It is full of packed and heavy snow from the road plows that have been by. Shoveling the mounds of heavy street snow from the driveway disturbs my earlier easy rhythm of push and lift, push and lift. But soon that snow, too, is cleared, and Oscar and I can go back inside.


  1. You got more than we did! I love that dry fluffy snow and the way it sparkles in the light. Great photo of Oscar sitting on the sidewalk.

    I didn't even get to shovel because one of our neighbours did it. Very nice of them, but I really love to shovel. Next time I'll have to get out there sooner.

    Are you enjoying the cold?

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