These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Monday, February 19, 2007

the mexican who climbed a snow pile and came down the other side

we got plenty of exercise yesterday clearing away snow and ice from our driveway. i wish we'd know how much warmer it was going to be and perhaps we wouldn't have spent so much time out there.

it was dawn's idea, since she'd gotten stuck in a piece of snow/ice on the driveway last week as she was backing out to take dinner over to me. what happened was as i continually cleared away snow from one of the sides of the driveway entrance, the pile kept getting bigger and expanding toward the driveway, makingit narrower. plus, it was then crooked, so dawn had to back up the car at an angle.

we hacked away nearly two feet of snow and ice (several inches thick) and widened the entrance to what it should be.

meanwhile, dawn went back towards the back of the drive to clear away snow near an overhang. as she bent over to get something and then straightened, she hit a thick icicle hanging from the overhang and broke it. she got a fairly large egg on the back of her head.

after administering first aid with my skills learned in the armed services, i returned to the front of the drive and hacked away at more snow. i began sweating as if i'd been running during the hottest day in summer (in south texas of course). i had to take off my cap and unbutton my jacket. i felt like removing it, too.

after leveling off the drive, i noticed the snow i'd shovelled over the past month had accumulated on both sides of the drive to large piles of dirty snow. they were about five feet high.

they were formidable mountains. no everest or kilimanjaro, granted, but still large protrusions from the earth.

i thought the best thing to do was knock them down. or east least one. for the purposes of this blog, i'll call them G1 and G2. i realized flattening both would be difficult, so i decided to tackle one -- G2, which was located on the east side of the drive and actually blocked the line of sight from cars coming.

so i began hacking away, scooping here and there. i made a dent in G2. but i needed more to level it off.

i surveyed the grand pile from all directions, eyeing my sights on the top. finally, after some hesitation, i made my ascension from the southern side, dubbed lado catorse by the natives of the street. i plunged my shovel deeply into the mountain, dug my boots into the dirty, brown snow, hauling myself up, inch by terrible inch.

after some deliberation at 4 feet, i made up my mind to scale it to th full 5 feet. it was the top or nothing.

as i ran out of breath (due to the high altitude), i finally saw the peak and scrambled my way to the top.

what a view. i could see my driveway from a whole new angle, above the sidewalks and street. houses seemed much smaller and cars miniscule. people were mere smaller people. a smile lit up my face and i raised my shovel in triumph, yelling, "top of the world, daaaaaawn!"

then i began to scoop like a madman, a destiny to fulfill, bringing down G2.

after many scoopings and tossings, G2 was reduced to three and a half feet. when done, i surveyed what i'd done, breathing exhaustively, sweat pouring down my face, plastering my hair, even at that high altitude.

knowing very well the treacherousness of escending through the lado catorse, i began the much easier descent through sideway alley. i slid partway, shovel digging into G2, then landed firmly on the ground.

i looked back at the diminished G2 and nodded. my work was done.