Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The Life-Affirming Power of Shoveling

The snow just keeps a-comin' here in Chicago. My husband couldn't have picked a better year to finally get a snow-blower.

But there are some areas where the snow-blower can't really be used. It's great for more open areas like our alley and parking spaces, but the path to get to those areas still needs to be dug out the old-fashioned way.

So please take a moment and respect how long it took my husband to clear this walkway. I had my 80-pound black lab sit out there to try and give some perspective to how high the "snow walls" are, but I'm still not sure this picture does the whole scene justice.

The Grand Snow Canyon

The problem was that my husband had not cleared another pathway in our backyard (I use that word loosely) that leads down to our electricity and gas meters. And tomorrow morning we have the gas company coming out to replace our meter because it's been making an awful sound (think a mournful, wailing cat) for months.

They made it clear that the meter must be accessible. As of 9 a.m. this morning, there was a six feet long, four feet wide, and 2 feet high block of snow preventing anyone from getting down to the meters. And so I knew it was my turn to wield the mighty shovel. And wield it I did:


The path is narrow, but there IS a path. I also shoveled the six steps leading down to the meters. It was not an easy task — as my husband said a few nights ago, "I can see why people have heart attacks while shoveling" — but I found myself getting totally pumped up about the challenge. I WOULD clear the path, dammit!

After it was done, I realized that I like shoveling for some of the same reasons I like cleaning (or certain types of cleaning): there's immediate gratification. Before I started there was no path. Now there's a path. The results of my hard work are crystal clear. It's a rush.

It also just made me feel alive. So much so that a song from one of my favorite '80s movies — the incomparable Xanadu — popped into my head while I was hacking away at the snow.

I will leave you with it so that you, too, can be inspired to get out there and do whatever it is you need to do today.

I'm ready to take on anything now, aren't you?

 - e

1 comment:

Aunt Sue said...

My shoveling days are over...last year when we got all that snow, I needed to go and get some snow away from our house foundation and pulled my hamstring. Ouch. That dang hamstring STILL pains me. :(