What We Didn’t Miss This Time
So this year we decided to not rehire the guy who removes the snow from our driveway and the parking spot in front of Naomi’s studio.
I guess we thought the clearing wasn’t custom-made enough to our liking – where the snow was placed, how we had to time when we parked our cars with when he’d show up. We looked into getting a snow blower, and looked and looked, and finally settled on a product from Canadian Tire, cheaper that those sold at the other places but with pretty good online references nonetheless.
I thought that I was through using it until recently, then I heard that a storm – a Nor’easter – was coming our way, I mean up the Atlantic Coast, and I thought that maybe, maybe, I would need to use it again.
These days, southern Quebec often misses some of the worst storms hitting the eastern seaboard. It’s as if there’s a boundary somewhere in northern Vermont where the northernmost tip of various tempests stops on its path to eastern Quebec, the Gaspé, and into the Maritimes where it will pummel Nova Scotia or Newfoundland with 200 centimetres of snow or a wall of rain. “Look what we’ve missed,” I’ll say to Naomi, as I gaze at the TV screen, in silent awe at scenes of destruction or mountains of snow covering vehicles. “We’ve been lucky.”
Still, we do live in a bit of a snow zone. Even before this storm hit us two days ago, there was snow on the road and on the properties as soon as you passed the mailboxes on Burnett Road on the way to our house. Before the curve comes, nothing but green on the lawns and gravelly road. At the curve, winter again.
Writing this, I have finished two days of shovelling and snow blowing. The following photos gives you an idea of what it’s like in my neck of the woods.
A note about the hills surrounding our parking spots, I didn’t do it all: we have a neighbour who is a bit of a Good Samaritan. He drives by in his tractor attached to a large bucket and happily pushes and lifts large amounts of snow that I would have to tackle on my own. When he goes on his way, I am relieved at having to get rid of much less of the white stuff that I would otherwise have to. The downside is that what is left is often very dense and too high for my snow blower to plow through. I have to work on the hills of packed snow and level them with my shovel, sometimes quite a bit, in order to continue clearing.
We don’t really know this guy. He lives up the hill with his wife, but it’s a nice act of kindness that he performs and I try to let him know that I appreciate what he’s doing by waving at him a lot.
Today, as we walked to pick up our mail, finally finished for the second day in a row of clearing off the cars, clearing their parking spaces and snow blowing all the space behind and around them (today being easier than yesterday because it had finally stopped snowing), Naomi asked me, “So, where do you want to be right now?”
She was talking about one of my favourite fantasies, getting away from winter for a couple of weeks at a Caribbean destination. Which beach would I like to be frolicking on? she wants to know.
“Don’t ask,” I quickly reply. “It’s too painful. I have a vivid imagination and I don’t need to think where I’d like to be.”
I then go on to describe anyway myself sitting on a beach chair with books, magazines and newspapers all around me having just swum in the ocean, etc. etc.
Err, back to reality. It is beautiful and silent here but sorry, it’s not that appreciated. At the beginning of winter, maybe, sure, we will marvel at winter’s silence and beauty but hey, it’s March 16th! Last year at this time, as I was reminded by Facebook’s Memories function, where old photos that you’ve posted pop up, the stream beside our house was visible instead of almost completely hidden by snow; there was colour around instead of a wall of whiteness everywhere. I cannot hop on a plane for a beach right now, I cannot go back into the past.
What I can do is write this blog and go cross-country skiing for the next couple of days, like it or not…