I got stuck in the snow this morning. Had to walk back up the slope to my apartment, get Wendy’s keys to her car, find the small retractable shovel that I normally have in the trunk of my car, give my wife back her keys, and trudge back to my car to attempt to get out of my hemmed-in parking spot.

Although the snow had fallen soft and cottony, by now it had hardened. It hurt my bad shoulder to try to shovel cleanly and clearly out so I used my noggin. With the help of those metallic claws that you can put under your tires and had recently put in my trunk just in case, I backed up, shoveled just a teeny bit more, and rammed my car into the street.


It doesn’t always happen that way with a stuck car. We’ve all been stuck at least once in an un-exitable spot where the combination of snow and glistening, slick ice makes it almost impossible to get out without the help of others pushing you or tons of salt.

So I considered myself lucky that the whole operation took less than fifteen minutes.

Not that I’m a Grinch when it comes to winter. I actually like having a real, macho winter instead of one where the temperatures hover around zero, the sky doesn’t know whether to discard snow, sleet or cold rain, where it’s overcast all the time. If I’m nicely bundled up, I enjoy the cold on my face and all around me (I feel the same way about a cold bedroom under loads of blankets).

This year, however, I’m a bit more ambivalent about Christmas. In last year’s Christmas blog (, I was happy to rediscover Christmas music, including carols, that this mall begins playing nonstop from about December 10th. This year though, I just can’t get into it.

There are about how many Christmas songs in all? Maybe twenty? The music that Decarie Square plays all comes from the 50’s and 60’s, grand affairs puffed up by big band accompaniment. I mean, how many times can you listen to Dean Martin sing “Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer”?


(Which, when you come to think of it, is very, very funny considering the fact that Martin was such a heavy drinker and probably always carried a red nose around wherever he went.)

No, this year I just find the music grating and don’t know if I would feel any better if they were playing Bob Dylan’s take on Christmas music (yes, he came out with a Christmas album in 2009) or John Lennon. What’s wrong with me?

I’m not that much of a believer that certain times of the year are holy, that stars and planets align to make a certain time of the year more spiritually significant. I think that every day can be “holy”, if that’s the word, if one is open and happy inside and enjoying and appreciating the present moment. But group celebrations and sacred events, like Rosh Hashonah, the Jewish New Year, I don’t know. It’s just a belief as far as I’m concerned. In Hinduism, Guru Purnima, celebrated during the July-August full moon, is considered a spiritually auspicious time. I don’t know; call me skeptical.

That doesn’t mean that winter isn’t special in its own way. Pretty soon, my wife and I will be cross-country skiing in this wonderfully early, cold and snowy winter. We will cruise down lovely ski trails among trees laden with powdery snow.

You have to take advantage of the outdoors at times like this. You never know what the future will bring.

cross country skiing on the mid gunflint trail system out of bearskin lodge


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