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  • Monday, February 04, 2008

    Just How Deep Is It ?

    Sand, Sun, Fish, Golf
    the mind wanders
    .. Whilst shoveling last night's 10" of snow from the sidewalk a vision appeared. The beauty of sand and sun and fish are ever with us in the depths of our winter wonderland. Snow feeds the streams and snow is the joy of winter.
    .. It's also deep! This is the way it used to be. This is what we're famous for. Snow for trees, snow for streams, snow for trout. Thinking of the good things about snow leads to the mind seeking justification for watching the snow build. It will make the flowers bloom, it will allow the golf courses to be watered, it will give sustenance to all the lowland pleasures that the valley-folk enjoy.
    .. We've noticed that the snow brings taxi drivers to local watering holes. They gather and share stories of winters past. The young ones marvel that the snow is over their heads - thus it always was. Is this normal? The question resounds in the quiet mornings and the hectic evenings. What do you do with all this snow? Where do you put it? Under the bed? In the closet? The questions are real, and the beginning of "Snow Wars" is upon us.
    .. Neighbors fight neighbors for a place to dump the snow. Business vs. business in the quest for a cleaner access. City vs. state in the attempt to provide space for both cars and people. The snow can only be pushed so far. Then it's the skidsters and front-end loaders. Trucks and dump trucks. Pile it high, pile it higher, pile it still higher -- the sky's the limit. Push it into the next door neighbor's lot. Push it into his backyard. "My loader's bigger than your loader!"
    .. In this environment a snow shovel has no chance. Alliances are formed: we'll get'em this year! Let's lease a 4-yard bucket. Let's get up at 3:00 AM! Let's take it to the dump.
    .. We moved about a yard and a half of snow this morning and called it good. We hope that our bit of clean sidewalk goes unnoticed. We hope the plows are moving too fast to see the little empty space. We dream of sun, sand fish and golf. The mind does wander during exertion. Sixty-five years plus of weather and the young'ns think this is big. We've seen tunnels to front doors. We've seen streets buried until June. We've known the need for a door on the second floor.
    .. Before snow blowers and the access to front end loaders it was a slow time of year. The snow came and we endured. The rich man used his tractor and that was that. Be nice to the rich man, you may get to your car by the end of May. It's still that way. But, now there are more rich folks. More loaders, more blowers, and the poor just shovel the roofs.
    .. Cars, that don't move for more than two days, get buried -- and found next spring. Spring comes late to the high country. There will be bits of snow well into June this year. It'll hide in north-facing shadows and under the boughs of conifers. It'll melt slowly and feed the trees and fishes. It'll fill the lakes and reservoirs.
    .. If it's a wet spring Ennis and Livingstone will try their best to move downstream in the high runoff. Don't pray for rain, it melts the snow, it gorges the rivers, it rearranges the gravels, it makes a mess in the lowlands. Will it hurt the golf courses? The mind does wander.
    .. There's things to do in the winter, in the high country. Beside attending to the sidewalk; there's flies to tie, lines to oil, tackle to attend too, and guns to clean again. There's food and mail to retrieve. There's rooms to clean and rearrange. There's visitations and business and even some ice hockey, skiing, and skating.
    .. The deep snow is always with us. Visitors see plowed streets and call it wonderland. They're here for a week at most. They marvel at the beauty. They write home, email their friends from the wifi in the motel, and make a few calls -- they never shovel a sidewalk. They get escorted to the park and never get their ankles cold -- such is the business of postcard living.
    .. The post card does not include snow flies: wingless or winged, ( #1 - #2 - #3.) It doesn't include the dogs that freeze to death. It doesn't include the engine blocks that crack and the batteries that burst. It certainly doesn't include the broken bones and bruises that even the experienced gather up in the winter. It is a pretty post card though - the mind does wander.
    .. As the unseen sun brightens the cloud cover, bustle appears. The kids go to school, the snow coaches rattle the windows as they rumble past, the sleds zip about and dogs do their business in a hurry. The grocery store opens: trinket shops at 10:00 or so, no hurry in the winter. Kitchens come to life and snow gets kicked off boots a thousand times an hour. At the post office, in the deli, in the diner, at the school, at church, at the city offices, at the gas stations, in homes, on construction sites. Snow is moved in big and little pieces all day long. It's here and that's that! Put it in a postcard home.
    .. It's time for biscuits and gravy and, some people-watching. Look at all the new down pants. Look at all the down parkas. Look at the new boots. Couldn't perform a bit of shoveling in that giddy-up! The mind does wander. We're planning a golfing trip.