White Out

     White out. It sure is. And that’s snow joke. “Winter, where is thy sense of humor.” I think Shakespeare wrote that after he spent four hours shoveling his driveway. In retrospect, the record breaking winter weather we had two years ago doesn’t seem all that bad. This year, we waited until February to get clobbered with snow. It seems harder dealing with the current snowfall than dealing with the memories of the 9 feet of snow we had in 2015.

     This is the first year I feel exhausted from shoveling snow. The timing of the past few snowstorms couldn’t have been worse. The one-two punch of the Thursday and Monday blizzards left me no time to catch my breath, or to keep up with my snow clearing. My electric mini-snowblower (complete with extension cord) has no traction control. I have to push it manually. It does the job (barely) keeping my driveway passable. It doesn’t make a dent in the three foot wall of icy white stuff at the end of my driveway left by sadistic plow drivers. Thank God for sympathetic neighbors with lots of horsepower.

     Listening to the stormwatch reports last week, you would think it never snowed in New England before. The snowfall amount kept increasing with every forecast. Snowmeggedon was upon us. I was not comforted when the weatherman said, “The storm is going to get progressively worse every time you look out the window. I immediately pulled down all the shades in my home. The blizzard would be accompanied by whipping winds, thunder snow and whirling drifts. When the television camera cut back to the news anchor, she said, “Sounds like a Snow-nado.” I felt like I was watching a bad movie on the Sy-Fy Channel. Move over Bombogenesis, we’ve got ourselves a Snow-nado!

     Driving in the snow is a job in itself. Because I work for a newspaper, I’m on the list of “essential employees”. According to my boss, I’m allowed to drive during a state of emergency. Lucky me. The weatherman recommended bringing extra gloves, hats and boots while traveling. I also loaded up a bag of groceries in case getting stuck in the snow gave me cravings for fruit, yogurt and ham sandwiches. The blinding white-out road conditions took my mind off food. My focus was on surviving. I discovered I am an excellent driver in the snow. I have a lot of patience and I don’t mind traveling 25 mph. (although drivers behind me are never happy). I was always told not to worry about anything in my rearview mirror.

     At the end of the day, returning home to an impassable driveway is never fun. After hours of clearing tons of heavy wet snow, I made my way into my house and took a long winter’s nap. Not by choice. My body automatically shut down and went into sleep mode. Although my eyes were closed, I saw a white light. I didn’t know what it was at first, but I was compelled to go toward it. I thought my time was up, but I wasn’t quite ready to go. As I stared into the light, it turned into the tip of a spring crocus making its first push toward breaking ground. I stared at the center and realized it wasn’t a winter plant surfacing. It was the tip of an iceberg with more snow behind it. I opened my eyes and looked out my window. It wasn’t a dream. It was all too real.

     I knew I was in bad shape Monday when I watched Netflix to relax for a hour or so after three days of shoveling. I saw the opening credits fade out as I drifted off. I slept through the entire movie and woke to the closing credits. I had just enough strength to haul myself off the sofa and open a fresh bottle of Advil before crashing into bed and blacking out for the night. I was not looking forward to my 5:00 am alarm.

     New England weather is oh so changeable. According to the seven-day forecast, it could be sunny and warm today if you look out your window. And we all know the weathermen are never wrong. Right?

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