We lost power last night in the great ice storm of 2008. We struggled without television, computer, light or heat from 10 pm until 2 in the morning. We survived with nary a scratch.
I have complained about winter this week as though the complaints will melt the snow. Clearly they won't. By means of description rather than complaint I will tell you that when I walked to the middle of the yard today to rescue my stuck daughter, I sunk to mid thigh. And I think I was standing on about a foot of hard packed icy snow. The snow banks are so high on my street that you can not see the houses from the road. From the house you can not see a car traveling on the road. At every intersection you must slowly inch out to the middle of the road to determine if you are about to be pummeled by a Ford F-150.
Today was lovely. Sunny and a balmy 35 degrees. The icicles melted. We spent several hours outdoors today. The Punks stripped snow from the swing-set and mounted mountains of previously plowed snow. I thought I'd conquer the driveway, needing to glimpse the black of the pavement to secure my sanity. After 2 hours I had managed to clear 3 squares of snow and ice approximately 3 feet in diameter. My back was seizing and my wrists aching. I had stripped down to a thin fleece and tossed my hat to the side. I was sweating and breathing harder than I had any right to breath. Cue loader. Big Yellow Machine grinding it's plow over the hard packed ice in effort to expedite some melting and in the process rebuild the barrier between my driveway and the road. It was tall. It was wet. It was heavy. I was defeated.
And pissed. I cursed and cursed and cursed with every scoop. Each one was too heavy to remove. Back. Wrists. Pain. When the steam cleared the loader was on it's way back and I paused. I flashed to the start of this season. This season of first snowfalls when neighbors laughed and talked in the street as they cleared every speck of snow and ice from every conceivable surface. You know, 83 inches of snow ago. It took a lot of effort, but finally I conceded that this man in this machine might not have been put on this street to intentionally break my back. He did a job. An imaginably lonely job. A necessary job that kept my family safe when we turned out of the driveway. And so I straightened when the machine came. I offered a slight wave and slighter smile.
He slowed and tipped his hat (no, really). The horn beeped and suddenly the machine changed direction and the man changed the direction of his plow and he piled all of the snow from the foot of my driveway on top of the mountain. Not one sweep. Not 2 sweeps. Lots of sweeps and I felt the saddest euphoria.
I forgot that people are kind.