Monday, February 7, 2011

The Joy of Shoveling Snow

Some may think I'm crazy - that I've been out here too long - but I actually enjoy shoveling snow.  The (sometimes very) fresh air, the sunshine, the physical exercise, even the knowledge that my better half may avoid slipping on the ice as she did a couple of years ago when she broke a rib, all of these things add to the exuberance with which I approach this otherwise most plebeian of tasks.  Sure, I could be watching the one-eyed monster, sitting in the pub, reading another book, napping or any of a hundred other activities - but I like shoveling snow.  I didn't like it as a youth, of course.  My father insisted that "the walks" be cleaned of snow at the slightest accumulation, ostensibly because there was a city edict demanding its removal upon pain of being fined, and because he believed there were those in the general populace just yearning to sue any professional who endangered the bipedal public by letting snow melt naturally where it fell.  (Or it could have been, in retrospect, just a way to instill some work ethic at an early age.  If so, it worked.)  Thus I toiled before and after school to remove the white stuff, sometimes so cold that it squeaked underfoot (a function of the grinding together of rock-hard crystals), and at other times so wet and heavy that it strained both man and instrument to move it.  I didn't just dislike shoveling snow back then, I hated it.  The transformation happened, I think, when I was away at university and enjoyed an inadvertent holiday from the task.  At any rate, I shan't lead you, dear reader, too far down the garden path because after the really big storms (3 or 4 times a winter) I do fire up the John Deere for some real fun!