Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Joy of…Shoveling


Hey, maybe I won’t have to shovel again this year.

Once upon a time, I wondered why people were so preoccupied with snow removal. Now I can get obsessive about clearing a path for the old people and the mail cart and the strollers.

More than once, it’s been nice to come home to a project. I enjoy getting hot, even breaking a sweat, as I rattle my shovel along the sidewalk. That can feel good in winter, opening up the jacket and pulling off your hat, your breath coming out in white clouds.

I learned that in certain conditions, and for example on the steps, a broom is more effective than a shovel. One day I swept away an inch or two of powder, and what remained on the dark pavement was a distinct trail of white footprints in the form of compacted snow. It made me think about fossils.

Late into the season, it occurred to me that I could thank my neighbor for her help with the dog by shoveling her walk. I came to this conclusion while I was walking home. When I arrived, I found my neighbor and her boyfriend companionably shoveling my walk.

Yes, it made me feel good.

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