What I want to write about, again, is snow.
Perhaps you can only read so much about snow. I know I’ve written about it rather a lot already. But for us it’s a feature of our daily life, a pressure, a frustration, a marvel, a burden.
There’s been so much more, and more, and more falling. So much fresh snow at this time of year is a challenge – where to put it all? We’ve been piling it up around the house now since November. If the land behind us didn’t slope downwards we wouldn’t be able to see out the windows anymore. Our garage is deep in a snow igloo, and the path down to it feels like a frozen water chute – high sides of snow curving round and down, and we must be careful to drive the car between them so as to avoid an avalanche.
Every day is defined by the amount of snow that falls, and the temperature. The snow that fell over the last few days was the lightest snow we’ve experienced. This is partly because it was cold when it fell – snow is more common as the temperature rises – but we don’t fully understand how all the different variants of snow are formed. We just know that not all snow is the same, and that is why in other languages there are so many words for it.
This week the forecast is for a periods of plus degrees – a horror for us, and the snow. The top layer will become wet, and then freeze over night. Any snow piles in the garden will become solid and impossible to shift. Water will drip onto our porch steps and form ice, so we’ll have to be out there sanding it every day.
As I said, it’s a challenge. At the start of the season there were always areas to pile it up in so shovelling could be fun. Now we first have to remove snow from the piles before we can shovel to make room for the new stuff. Some of that snow has to go up the steep drive to the snow pile in the street. We aren’t allowed to dump snow in the street, but there is a pile opposite us where the council piles up snow from the streets, so adding ours to it doesn’t seem such a crime. (I seem to remember a similar claim in Arlo Guthrie’s ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ – ‘we decided that one big pile is better than two little piles’…)
Yesterday a lock broke on one of the guest room doors. We didn’t manage to fix it, so needed to buy a new one before our guests arrived in the afternoon. The driveway was piled high with the snowfall from the night before, and with the problem of having to push it a long way to pile it up, we reckoned it would take a few hours of work before we had access to the garage. Our house used to have a shorter driveway out to the road, not up a hill – but the council closed that exit years before we bought the house, so we had inherited a driveway problem.
Rolf went on foot to the nearest places, but was not able to find a lock that fitted. Meanwhile I had begun shovelling snow. By the time he returned we were only an hour away from reaching the car. When we did, he drove to a shop, bought the lock, and came home to fix it. When our guests arrived it still wasn’t ready. It didn’t look as if we’d worked hard to be ready for their arrival – why hadn’t we done it earlier?
Over a cup of coffee, I proceeded to tell our guests the story of the broken lock, the snow falling overnight, the council closing the garage exit, the driveway problems, the shovelling and there being nowhere to put the snow…
The truth is we’re now hoping and praying that there is No More Snow. Enough, already.