When the blizzard came to Maine on Tuesday, everything except the falling snow and the hungry birds seemed to come to a standstill. The schools, were closed, the state offices shut down, and even my dentist’s office wasn’t open.
“This is the first time ever our office has closed ahead of time,” Nancy, my dental hygienist, told me on Monday when I was having my teeth cleaned.
And a good thing, too, because the snow came down, down, down all day Tuesday and well into Wednesday morning, when the storm finally wore itself out. Midafternoon on Tuesday, Clif and I went out to clear the driveway, the walkways, and the various paths in the backyard. We knew we’d have to do it again on Wednesday, but with so much snow, we felt it was best to keep up with it. The dog came out to jump, bark, and supervise. At one point, Liam’s black face was covered with snow, and it made him look like a panda bear.
We spent two hours outside and cleaned about a foot of snow. When we came in, the paths, steps, and driveway were already filling back in. We shed our dripping clothes, made some popcorn, and settled on the couch to read. The dog settled beside us, begging for popcorn. Outside, a blue-grey dusk settled over the landscape, and it was a color I had never seen before. But gradually the black of night replaced the blue-gray of dusk, and it was time to pull down the shades.
There is something sharply defining about a blizzard—the preparations, the shoveling, and the clearing of snow. We know what our duties are, and we tend to them. As much as we humans are shaping the planet, nature is still a force be reckoned with, and blizzards put us in our place.
On Wednesday, after breakfast, Clif and I were back outside. Again, the driveway, steps, walkways, and paths had to be cleared. The car, a great mound of snow, had to be uncovered. At the end of the driveway, there was a wall of snow—four feet high—left by the plow. But hardest of all was the roof, which had to be scraped so that ice dams, which lead to leaks, wouldn’t build up. The snow in the front yard was so deep that I had to shovel a path for Clif so that he could scrape the roof with a long device of connected poles and a large plastic blade on the end. In turn, the scraping of the snow brought an avalanche of hard-packed snow onto the two porches. This snow, of course, had to be removed.
“I’ll do it,” I said to Clif, whose arms were tired. He had done enough.
All told, we each spent six hours clearing snow after the storm, but by late Wednesday afternoon, the cleaning was done, and we both felt we had earned more popcorn. After our snack, Clif dozed on the couch, the dog slept in the chair by the window, and the orange cat lay on my lap, making it difficult for me to write in my notebook.
Another foot of snow is projected for Friday and Saturday. Clif and I will be ready, and so will Liam.