Snow squall

Cape Breton Post - - EDITORIAL -

Snow – don’t you love it? That first snow of the year, fil­ter­ing down out of the sky in fat, tan­gled flakes, catch­ing on tree branches, fine ice stars land­ing on the sleeve of your jacket. So pure, so gen­tle, so frag­ile.

Late Novem­ber, maybe early De­cem­ber, and that first heavy snow, the snow that re­minds you of how sound is muf­fled and qui­eted by drifts and rills of soft white flakes.

Even the French word, “neige,” it­self so soft, and the world is great and new as you set out, your foot­steps the trail of orig­i­nal mankind, boots mark­ing the world’s first ad­ven­ture.

Well into De­cem­ber, and across the At­lantic prov­inces, the snow keeps ap­pear­ing and melt­ing, ap­pear­ing and melt­ing, and there you are, all at once, singing, “I’m Dream­ing of a White Christ­mas” – Christ­mas, or, as we like to call it, when win­ter takes a turn. For the worse.

Jan­uary snow, the fine small flakes that bring that folk say­ing, “Lit­tle snow, big snow,” mean­ing that fine, small flakes are ev­i­dence of a bliz­zard to come. Snow, pil­ing in across the drive­way, snow on Mon­day and then Wed­nes­day and Satur­day, for good mea­sure.

The first few snow­falls you take in stride, maybe get the skis and snow­shoes out of the garage, and hey, snow shov­el­ling’s good ex­er­cise, right?

The Har­vard Med­i­cal School’s calo­rie charts show about 233 calo­ries burned for ev­ery 30 min­utes shov­el­ing, and you do the whole drive­way, edge to edge, the first time.

And here’s Fe­bru­ary, and you can hardly bring your­self to watch the weather on tele­vi­sion. They’re tor­ment­ing you about Thurs­day night’s im­pend­ing weather sys­tem, still so dis­tant there’s no telling what fresh hell awaits, but it’s the equiv­a­lent of hear­ing that the Span­ish In­qui­si­tion will be stop­ping by on Fri­day morn­ing – you don’t know what they’re go­ing to do to you, but some­thing’s go­ing to hurt.

And the snow­blower’s caught a fallen branch and cracked off its shear pin and there aren’t any shear pins any­where in town and the ice dam on the roof is Hooveresque in di­men­sion. In your liv­ing room, you think you hear a clock, but no – it’s drip­ping wa­ter. It’s not even March.

The drive­way now is a nar­row canyon, there’s no place left to put the end­less sky-mis­ery, and you can only open the driver’s door if you park with the pas­sen­ger side right up against the en­emy. The snow­blower has quit en­tirely, you’ve had to shove it into the garage, and you burned your arm on the muf­fler, right through your jacket, which now has a cir­cu­lar, muf­fler-shaped hole.

The down in your jacket sleeve puffs out through the hole, fall­ing gen­tly like more wretched, mis­er­able snow.

And here comes the plow again, and won’t this night­mare ever, ever end?

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