(Not that I was complaining about those days, or even weeks, thus far this Winter season, that felt and looked like April or May.) I’m thinking that those six-inch flowers I saw at the corner house on Ferris Avenue must be rather confused right about now, between last weekend’s warm spell, yesterday’s all-day freezing rain, then snow, and now we’re expected to be back in the mid-50s this weekend. Heck … even I’m confused. Perhaps all those tender shoots have been smooshed to smithereens from our “juicy snowfall” which was heralded to be another Snowmageddon-like event.
Here in my part of town, the big snowfall, projected to be between four to eight, and maybe even ten inches, really didn’t materialize. We got freezing rain, then only about three or four inches of heavy snow, making for much hefting to move it out of the way. I now await the snowplow’s arrival to make my return trip to the end of the driveway necessary tomorrow. Perhaps I’ll just wait for the big meltdown on the weekend instead.
I’m sure there were plenty of fingers and toes being crossed last night – schoolkids were hoping for a snow day, feeling gypped to have gone all season without one. I guess those kids have short memories because they got multiple snow and bitter cold days off from school the past two years. I’m sure parents likewise had fingers and toes crossed … but for a different reason. They had to make childcare arrangements or juggle around their work agendas. Well, most schools ended up closing so it was the kids with a “W” in their column.
Stepping outside on this early morning, I had to admit, that despite the hassle of the snowfall, I was taken aback by the beauty of the heavy snow that was clinging to, and dragging down bushes and evergreens, plus piled up along the top of the chain-link fence. This snowfall was reminiscent of that two inches of heavy snow that blanketed our backyards back on November 21st.
There was almost a hush as you stepped outside, as if the snow had hermetically sealed off all the grime of City dirt and grit and the noise of the passing cars . I stood there for a few minutes, hands propped on the handle of the shovel, while taking it all in as I admired the beauty of the peaceful morning and marveled at the mastery of Mother Nature’s handiwork.
I began to shovel and I was soon distracted by a City salt truck chugging down the street, kicking out salty nuggets in its wake. Soon thereafter it made a return trip, and I thought that task was wholly unnecessary since the snow was melting and the pavement was already bare from each shovelful of snow I had already scraped off.
In the din of the salt truck’s rumblings, a blue jay began angrily calling out to no one in particular. I quickly swiveled my head upward to the trees across the street to locate this angry bird and suddenly spied him in the tall Maple, a streak of blue with his identifiable crest, as he flitted from branch to branch. His continuous squawking indicated his feathers had been ruffled by someone or something. Finally, a flap of wings and whoosh … he was gone and the street was silent once again.
But not for long …
A dozen or so geese, flying in V-formation were the next ones to interrupt the solitude of my morning. They were honking loudly as they flew overhead, probably having decided the Groundhog had lied, thus they were getting out of Dodge as soon as possible.
I continued shoveling, taking that heavy snow in two layers – lifting the top half off, then scraping the bottom layer. As I made my way along to the backyard, the rhythmic swipe of the shovel blade against the concrete startled a squirrel in my neighbor Marge’s yard. He had an annoyed look on his snow-covered face, as if I had interrupted his concentration that was obviously necessary to locate a misplaced peanut. He sat smack in the middle of a grassy spot which he had cleared near the back of the yard. That smart squirrel had used his paws like a paddle to push the snow aside to get to a prized peanut or two that he had hidden away for a rainy, er snowy, day. I watched him out of the corner of my eye as I edged down the path, and he had no success finding his misplaced peanut as far as I could tell.
If there was a thought bubble over my head, it would say: “Mr. Squirrel with the surly look on your face – everyone knows that when you live in Michigan, you go for bread and milk and any necessities BEFORE the snow flies!”