Hatch Battening


I can’t sit still during a storm. I may act quiet but inside I am
unsettled. It frustrates me to lose control of my environment and it
is never more so that during a winter storm. It isn’t that I cannot
accept that nature’s forces hold sway, it is just that Lisa and I
need to get to work, sometimes at fairly early hours. I feel like a
ship in a storm and I need to do a little hatch battening.

I have developed some coping mechanisms for storms; mainly I move
snow. I shovel during a storm instead of awaiting its death as I
would rather move the snow twice at an easy pace than once more
intensely. Honestly, it is more recreational than necessary and more
therapeutic than recreational. I hate the way a sidewalk looks when
it has even a small coating of snow. I told Lisa that I thought we’d
just use the concrete pad in front of the garage for a walk this year
and leave the sidewalk snow-covered to save time. This is a plan
lasted to the first light snow and ended when I used a broom to clean
it off.

I had a crisis of confidence this winter, for just a minute. I
questioned whether I was ready for another season of plowing,
blowing, shoveling, & repeat. I started small and shoveled the porch
off then moved onto the concrete in front of the garage. I got the
truck fired up and began cleaning. I don’t see snow removal so much
as plowing as cleaning; like the truck is big broom. I cranked up the
tunes on the radio and got into my work. I pulled my shovel out and
cleaned doorways and got my fires lit. At some point, I begin to
enjoy the pain of winter. I get the taste of battle in my mouth and
want a little more. I want our yard neat and the driveway wide; a
spirit which must be tempered as a wide driveway comes with the
inherent risk of plowing so close to a ditch.

I am either warm in the truck or braced by the cold as I shovel. I
prefer warm as opposed to “braced” and also prefer the music of my
truck. I discovered the music of “Adele” while plowing one winter of
2011-2012 however this year I have been listening to Christmas music.
I must say it is a rush to boldly face winter and its forces to
bolstered by the strong chorus of “Oh, Holy Night.” It really gets my
hair growin’.

Over time, I have discovered something; I like to remove snow. I
don’t like snow removal when I am under pressure to get to work but
if I can take my time, I really enjoy it. How often can you make an
hour’s worth of effort and improve the looks of your home to such a
degree as when you arrange the snow into piles of your own choosing
instead of haphazardly spread across the lawn and road?

I entered the first storm of the season on the curve that turns south
on county #7 southwest of Thief River Falls, Minnesota. This is the place where snow piles up and really lets you know winter is here. I exited the first storm on that same curve as it turns east on my morning commute to work. This is the
approximate area where the trees block the blowing snow. I was
listening to Bruce Springsteen banging out a Christmas song and it
made good accompaniment to my gushy, self-satisfied hubris. I had
made it; I’d battened my hatches and sailed through my first storm of
the winter.

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