Conquering the driveway…

In my last post, I wrote about the beauty of the snowstorm, the white silence, and romantic notions of all that can be accomplished inside—in the warmth of our various nooks and crannies. I even waxed nostalgic just a little when I recalled attentively listening to the list of school closings being broadcast in the early morning the day of the storm, remembering how I’d do the very same thing growing up as a student and later as a teacher for 35 years.

In the meantime, I failed to write about the reality that comes right along with all the other images of crackling fires in the fireplace, reading of good books, working on the novel while listening to some pleasant mood-enhancing classical music on iTunes, etc. And that reality is that all that snow has to be removed—sooner or later—and, since I don’t have a maintenance service, the removal duty falls on me! As was the case with Tuesday’s steady and continuous snowfall accumulating through the afternoon and evening, I knew our trusty John Deere snow thrower would be called to action more than once. And so it came to pass.

Image
“The Conqueror”-after the “final” clearing

Donning my Carhartts and boots, I went out into it in the late morning and soon discovered that there was much more of the white stuff plugging my driveway—end-to-end—than I’d realized. And while the initial downfall had tapered off, it was still managing to add to the accumulation.

The John Deere sprang to life on the very first pull, and I proceeded to do battle with the wet, heavy snow that was probably three-to-four inches deep. Though it was a slow process, due to the constant clogging of the chute, I had the majority of the driveway and front sidewalk pretty well cleared within thirty minutes, leaving the worst until last: The end of the driveway!

I’m not talking about the “end” closest to the garage. Rather, I’m talking about the entrance “end”…the one that the town snowplows seal shut in their efforts to clear the streets of the white stuff! This is always the most critical part, because left piled where it is, the snow and ice “barrier” will harden as temperatures drop, making the process of opening the end of the driveway virtually impossible with the meager tools and equipment at hand.

I’ve extolled the glorious virtues of my old John Deere, but even it has its limits! Fortunately, I managed to push and pull, coaxing the bright green and yellow machine to eat up and throw out and away the thick, wet slushy stuff before the second band of the snowstorm was to settle in later in the day. For the moment, I had an open driveway and a chance to quit for the rest of the day. If the wife was to make it home from work later on, she’d at least be able to get into the driveway and garage.

Meanwhile, as the day wore on, what followed was exactly what had been predicted. The second band of the storm hit hard, with increased winds and lower temperatures. Carolyn did, in fact, get home from her place of employment (an hour away!) and into the garage without any issues. The garage door remained shut over night, and I knew that I’d have to go out the next day and do everything all over again. As it turned out, one would never have believed that I had made any kind of effort the day before. There was well over five inches of newly deposited white stuff out there, and that nasty entrance was once more piled full of snow, slush, and whatever else the town snowplow driver could manage to leave there!

The storm was over, having moved east, and now winter in northern Illinois was an endless white blanket. My thoughts moved back toward those more pleasant notions of reading books, working on the novel, writing blog posts, etc., etc., as the work of clearing the driveway was finished—at least for a while and until the next snowplow driver provides me with another grueling challenge…CortlandWriter

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