Death of a Snowman
I had been keeping tabs on a snowman in my neighborhood.
He was never a robust specimen, but tall and stocky enough to pass for a healthy winter totem.
No more. Monday brought the devil’s rain to this unfortunate fellow ... and the daylong showers melted him by the end of the day. Remember snowman, that you are water; and to water you shall return.
He’s gone now, as dead as fried chicken, R.I.P. — rest in puddles. Just like most of the snow in my neck of the woods.
Everywhere I look, I see faded green lawns that nearly look yellow. January is fading fast, and it looks like we’re going to close the month without a significant winter storm. We’ve only had 19.8 inches of snow in the Capital Region this winter, compared to the 39.6 inches that had fallen by this time last year. And last winter was a pretty feeble edition of this most fearsome season.
I’ve only shoveled twice this year, and the only real exertion was Dec. 9, when there were about eight inches of snow waiting in the driveway when I prepared for daily duties. That was seven weeks ago today; my snow-clearing tools and skills have received an unexpected reprieve. I’m sure many people have celebrated winter’s hibernation.
But whatever happened to that “Let it snow” spirit? There’s something to love about hanging inside the house on a cold winter day, when 20 inches of snow are falling outside. Start the fire, cook some chili, crack open a few beers and watch the show. As kids, we used to wait by the windows to watch the sidewalk plows come blasting down our street. It was often late afternoon or evening by the time Rochester plowed Alameda Street, so we got to see these monster vehicles in full spectacle — with emergency lights swirling yellow and big spotlights pointing out the path ahead.
Shoveling doesn’t bother me. At least not yet. If I had a heart condition, I’m sure I’d be pleading for April. But if you are reasonably healthy and take it slow, clearing snow can replace a trip to the gym. It’s exercise, and you get a sense of accomplishment, a sense of not submitting to the cold and ice.
There’s also something about the silence that comes with new snow. Ever go outside after a storm, and there’s a foot or two on the ground? If there are no snow blowers growling, the quiet of nature can be a nice experience.
I’m not crazy about driving in the stuff, and avoid driving great distances when snow is in the air. But I won’t go traveling on my cross-country skis with just a skimpy ground cover — I need two or three feet of cushions whenever I’m on the slide.
Some people say February is the toughest winter month. I hope that’s the case, and the gods of winter decide to punish puny mortals of the Northeast with a couple trillion snowflakes. It doesn’t seem right, seeing grass and gardens in the middle of the cold season.
And not a snowman in sight.