Digging through winter.

Old reliable

Old reliable

The snow is falling down from the cloudy heavens like some sort of angel, but with only devilish intentions. It whirls about in the air, collecting in inches, feet on the ground. Sometimes too heavy to shovel, starting up “old reliable” the snowblower, I pile it. High.

Not many people understand the realness of a Central New York winter. It whittles you away, down to the bone with subzero temperatures and snow, literally, tons of snow. And to beat mother nature you have to be tough.

wpid-img_20150208_161241.jpgLooking out a back window, there in the white moonlight I can see. I can see what’s happening outside. The snow dropping with intensity as it did the night before, adding to the 10 inches already fallen. The temperature. The temperature is five degrees above zero.

What do you do? First, throw another piece of wood on the fire, it’s going to be a long night. Then add a drop of whiskey to your coffee. Then get your insulated boots and fleece-lined jacket, put them somewhere warm. You’ll need them tomorrow morning, it’s always nice to start clearing snow with preheated work clothes.

Waking the next morning, first, you see wpid-img_20150127_132204.jpgthe window paines are foggy. Wipe away the condensation, and next you see what happened while you were resting blissfully dreaming of golf courses, Hawai’ian pattern shirt, and drinks with tiny pink umbrellas.

“We got dumped on,” is the colloquial way of saying there was a significant accumulation of the white stuff. And this isn’t the powdery stuff you find at a ski resort. This is lake effect snow. It’s huge snowflakes. It’s heavy. And it’s wet.

Open the garage door. Plug in the electric starter. And I crank up old reliable orange, the big snowblower, with a 36-inch cut. With a burning-petrol-scented puff of smoke he starts.

Looking out the garage door, I see it’s snowing again, and the wind has picked up. Leaving us with a negative windchill. Just another winter day in CNY.

Plowing down the driveway I have to adjust the chute further to the left, because the wind is whipping the snow back at my face. I reach for the ski mask in the pocket of my parka. Sweet relief. For now.

I continue on and pile the snow from the back garden to the front sidewalk. But what’s that thundering sound, the ground is begining to tremble. What is that?

A massive, yellow plow truck blows by my driveway, and in one swoop covers the end of the drive in an additional foot of snow. Keep digging out.

That’s basically the mantra after the holidays, when we’ve all had are fill of a white Christmas, just keep digging out. And hopefully by mid-March the thermometer might hit 40 degrees a few times.

What’s winter like where you live?


4 thoughts on “Digging through winter.

  1. Winter is nothing here compared to where you live!
    We get about 6 snowfalls a year – never more than 6-8″ deep the bigger ones usually melt within 3 days (the little ones melt the next day), so you can take your pretty winter happy snaps and then get on with your normal week! Most days are in the 40’s and nights are in the 20’s.
    But I do like the idea of whisky in the coffee 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My only experience of snow was in France in my twenties, over 2 days. That’s it. I would love to experience snow again but not ‘too much’ of it, as you describe.
    Winter in and around Adelaide can be cold (cold = 3C overnight and 12C during the day). Our last two winters were so mild we did not need to turn on our gas heater. Not once. We coped just fine wearing warm clothes, beanies, scarves and hug boots in the evening and sitting with a hot water bottle in our lap. Since we don’t have air conditioning, our problem is coping with summer heat. When the temperature reaches 30c+ indoors, it becomes uncomfortable and the nights can be particularly difficult. I won’t tell you how we deal with that because you are probably feeling cool enough already.


    • Snow here does seem to lose its charm after a while. We cope with it until it reaches about 40 F here, then everyone goes bonkers with spring fever and wears shorts and t-shirts. Even my dogs are going a little stir crazy right now, there’s no grass for them to sniff or roll around on. Quite bored, so I have been hiding treats in the snow and they search for them. Part of my reason for writing the essay was to, not only share my seasonal experience, but I find it fascinating to hear what seasons are like throughout the world. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

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