Saturday, February 8, 2014

Snow gardens: Mood Swings Under the Sun

It's sunny and vibrant today, with that bright, too bright glare off the snow that comes after a dark day-long snow fall. The previous day's relentless precipitation weather event brought about 10 inches of snow, but it feels heavier because of the wetness. It rained snow, so to speak.
            I had no intention of going out of doors yesterday. It was snowing hard and appeared to have filled up all the spaces where you could put snow by the time I crawled out of bed. It was late afternoon before I geared up to confront this winter's latest version of "what hath God wrought"...

            And found that snow had morphed into mostly rain. So it was turning wet, halfway to swampy and two minutes into the job of removing the shaved ice impediment between self and the ground I was sweating. Each step took two shovelfuls, the first to lift the top wetter level, the second to scrape up everything else you couldn't fit on the shovel.

            I work my weary way, step by step, to the place where our car, in happier times, seeks to emerge, rear-end, into the roadway. We have no true name for this spot. It is not truly a driveway; it's a down-slanted section of sidewalk connecting the parking area and the road. Nevertheless this passage, this neck, this golden strait is quite essential for putting a motorized vehicle into action.

            Our roadway has been well plowed by the city. However, the result of all this plowing has been plugged into that narrow passageway where, in -- O, happier times! -- I tend to reverse the automobile out of its blacktopped parking rest area. (OK, for simplicity, call it the driveway.)

            This driveway is now plugged with mini glaciers, flat slabs of compressed unflavored ice.

            I hack away. I dig. Lift. Toss the results over my shoulder; or, more likely, spew it sidearm to either end. Icy rain falls. My outerware glistens, runs with moisture. I persevere. I open the gateway, the strait between my landlocked, snowbound conveyance and the bounding main of the well-cleared roadway.

            Rejoice  O doughty shovel-man!
            And so I emerge the next morning, cold and snowy,with my brighter feathers on and discover that 'they' have plowed my driveway closed tight again.
            I am not best pleased.
            In the very moment I discover this insult, a solitary vehicle, a truck with plow on the front rolls up. I wave at him, I point at the driveway. I am simply making a point. See this? Do you agree with that it stinks.
            The driver slows to a stop. He thinks I am beckoning him. Did you do this? I shout. He doesn't hear.
            He lowers a window. I change approach. "Can you help this?" I call.

            Big nod. "Yes I can."


            "Twenty dollars!"

            I think a split-second, not a lot of thought, then wave him away. 
            "Sorry," I call. Meaning, I was never planning to pay you.

            He's not satisfied. He calls back:

            "I don't work for nothing."

            Neither do I.

            But what I'm really thinking is, 'Are you the one who plowed in my driveway after I'd cleared it the day before? And now you're coming back to ask for money for clearing away what you piled up yesterday? How does that differ from a protection racket?'

            No, I don't want you to work for nothing. But sometimes I don't want you to work at all. 

                      Snow Glare

Headache glare, rising with the sun
too bright after all that day-long grayed-in wet-feather graupel
Today is another country
Yesterday, that shrouded place, was a fiercer planet
the natives hunkered all day in their caves
poking sticks into the embers
hoping something would fall down dead for supper
Happily today's natives have supermarkets and TV
a sunny nation sliding to work between white walls,
temporary, thigh-high, dead-ended at the corners
A piercing ray through every crack in the shade
No venture possible without first a pill or two for unaccustomed strain of so much cheer
Recovering, heady, celebratory speeches in the shiny-bald streets where
sun and plows bare the black-bottomed world
we call our own, boots on the ground