8 A.M.

8 A.M.

I was hot to trot this morning, ready to zip out to the Bagel Shop for the lox and schmear special, a luscious sculpture of brined salmon, slivers of red onion, capers, and snips of fresh dill on a voluptuous bagel. This would be a special Sunday breakfast, with half left for tomorrow morning to fuel a session of “senior aquacize,” formerly known as Silver Waves.

Life has evolved so there’s time to consider details such as whether to have the first cup of coffee, regular, on the way to the Bagel Shop, or have a leisurely cup at home,  then take my second cup, decaf, to go. I decided to have a cup while I read the New York Times on line. Today, T magazine’s focus is women’s spring fashion.

While I waited for the hot water to drip through the filter, I admired the unspoiled snow outside. Then I noticed the deck. I wanted to believe that I had forgotten to clear it after yesterday’s second snow, but I hadn’t. I knew it. Another three or four inches fell last night, which meant that the front porch steps, car, and driveway had to be cleared for the third time this weekend—before I could get to that  bagel.

But no big deal. I’m kind of into snow shoveling. Stoked with a cup of Peet’s Major Dickason’s blend, I put on thermal underwear, wool sweater, jeans, down jacket, wool cap, gloves, extra woold socks, boots good to -40 (it was 12 at the time), and waddled out the front door. I dug in, and, yeah, I guess my life has changed. I actually enjoyed it.

When I’m clearing snow, I try to move efficiently, sort of like mowing a lawn. I give trim the edges crisply, though after a point I ask myself, “Why are you doing this? Good enough is OK.”  It gets kind of like trimming a hedge, trying to eyeball an even slice across the top. But one end is a little low, so you buzz the high spots again with the clippers. Next thing you’re thinking, “Oh, well. It will grow out in time.”

One house down the street, my neighbor Fedora was shoveling her driveway. She’s Alaska Native, short with dark hair, and maybe not much younger than I. When we’re outside at the same time, she offers practical advice, year round. She alerted me to the threat of moose in the neighborhood. “If you see one in the street,” she warned, “turn around and go the other way.”

Last week, she cautioned me about pulling Silver in and out of the driveway to pack the snow. I was pleased with having thought of it. It seemed so efficient and quick. “Better not use your car like that,” she said. “That packed snow is going to turn to ice.”

This morning, as I shoveled the car out, she held up a snow scoop and said, “You better get one of these. Much easier on your back.”

9 A.M.

9 A.M.

By then I had finished, but on the way home with that beautiful bagel on the seat next to me, I stopped by Ulmer’s Everything But Groceries and Pets and bought a sleek black scoop. I’ll be ready next time.

This has me thinking about how much of life is repetitive. As soon as the dishwasher is emptied, there’s another glass to start the next load. Same thing with the garbage, laundry, making the bed. The only way to deal with it is to savor the doing, which may be how poor old Sisyphus dealt with the mental load of that boulder he had to keep pushing up a hill, day after day.

3 P.M.

I can see that I’m going to get a lot of practice because, you know what? It’s snowing. Again.

Copyright 2014. Genie Hambrick

Footnote: 4:17 p.m. Snow scoop works great! Cleared maybe an inch more of snow in less than 10 minutes. Back inside in time to stir the rhubarb before it scorched on the stove.

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