To #shovel or not to shovel, that is the question!

I think it has finally stopped snowing. Check under the streetlight. No more flakes. Guess I better get out and start shovelings. Or – should I? The #weather report says five to seven centimeters. How many inches is that? Somewhere around two, I think? Maybe three. Did three inches fall? Am I ready to brave the elements?

It’s so nice and warm inside. We’re about to sit down to a movie but I don’t want to leave it too late. That heavy stuff is murder to lift. Will I want to shovel after the movie is over? Not likely. Hey, I’ll check the snow. Is it light? Wet? It looks manageable. Let’s leave it to the morning. Not sure I want to shovel in the dark.

Are any neighbors out #shovelings? Yeah, there’s somebody. That guy doesn’t count. He’s such a keener. What does tomorrow’s weather say? Maybe it’ll turn mild and Mother Nature can look after this for me. I could at least lift the wipers off the car windshield. That might help. Maybe I’ll just clear the front steps and leave the driveway for the morning. Have I ever done that? No. Bad idea. Salt! Can I get away with spreading some salt? Wait, we don’t have any salt.

Look at that. The people who moved in across the street have added a heated driveway. Wow, fancy. How does that work? Must use a sensor. Quit stalling. Just get out there and do it. You’ll sleep better knowing it’s done. Okay, okay.

Wear the big winter boots. They’re easier to get on and off. No, not that coat, it’s way too warm. Hat? Forget the hat, I’ll just take it off. And definitely no scarf this time. Car keys? Got’em. Gloves? Not the good ones. Remember to go out the side door. Don’t want to leave footprints on the front steps. Nothing worse than having them turn into ice. Better get the broom. Tonight looks like a shovel and broom job. Love that new broom. Why don’t other people use a broom? Rookies.

First I’ll start the car. Shovel a path to the driver’s side. Crap, I forgot to clear the snow from around the door. Now it’s all over the seat. Front defog – check. Rear defog – check. Now my butt’s a bit wet. Open up the back hatch. Grab the snow scraper. Urgh, forgot to clear the #snow from around the hatch. Now there’s snow all over the… never mind. Start with the windows, then the roof. It’s the other way around, you fool. Clear all those windows again. Damn, how many times have I done that? Don’t leave the car running too long. It’s bad for the environment. What will the neighbors think? They don’t care. They’re inside watching a movie by the fire. Keys? Which pocket did I put the keys in? Hope they didn’t fall out into the snow. Relax, that has never happened.

The guy who lives in the house with the nice wooden garage door is outside now. He’s got a #snowblower. That’s new. I think he’s got the blower pointing in the wrong direction. Is the snow really deep enough for a snow blower? I could never own one of those things. Be careful. Never say never.

Shovel the snow from behind the #car. Two passes lengthwise, or is it three? It’s three. Now go horizontally across the driveway. Don’t do the Zamboni circles. Tried that before. It only works on skating rinks. Who wrote that great poem about the Zamboni? A #Canadian. Don Coles. “Slow dance of blue light in a darkening space.” Love that line.

Now, clear the front steps. Shovel first. Fine-tune with the broom. Yikes, dirty snow. I’ll cover it with the fresh stuff later. That’s craziness. Do not tell people that you do that. Time to take a short break.

The smell from someone’s fireplace drifts by. Snow sparkles from the light of the moon.

Okay, back to the driveway. So happy I got this new shovel. Love the metal-edged blade. Makes a pretty loud scrapping sound though. Hope the neighbors don’t mind? They don’t care. They’re inside watching a movie by the fire with a glass of wine. Once I tried that curved metal-shafted shovel. Hated it. Felt weird. It makes total ergonomic sense. But it’s an ugly looking thing. Time to shut off the car engine. Hold it. Kick the snow from behind the tires. Move the car back. Clear the area where the car was parked. Do not tell people that you do that either.

Looks like everyone has gone inside. They’re done already? I bet they don’t use a broom. They’re probably watching a movie by the fire with a glass of wine and some popcorn. One more pass to neaten-up the edges. Looks good. Better clear the snow around the mailbox. Don’t want the postal carrier to slip. “Be nice, clear your ice.” Almost done. Shovel in front of the garage doors. Don’t let the snow freeze there. Won’t be able to get inside. That happened once. Once.

All done. That took 20, maybe 25 minutes. Not bad. It’s peaceful out here. No cars on the road. No snow blowers. No scraping. Quiet, hear that? That was the wind blowing through the trees. Hey, I can see my breath. Glad I decided to come out tonight. Wonder if it will snow again soon? Hope so.




Bob Hambly lives in Toronto.

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