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Pickle Me This

February 2, 2011

Slow snow falling deep

My life at the moment offers such a richness of time, for which I am incredibly grateful. We are very rarely in a hurry, Harriet can walk down the street at her own stumbling pace, we can do the grocery shopping in the morning when the store is nearly empty, we get chores out of the way in the week so that weekends are devoted to pleasure, and when I call to make her doctor’s appointment, I’m able to say that pretty much any time is fine. (Except nap-time. Nap-time is sacred. There is never enough time in nap-time, or in the evenings after Harriet goes to bed, and I take care to use every second of this precious free time for writing and reading, and I do. When I’m not looking at photos of people I don’t know on Facebook.)

The best thing about this arrangement is that we can take pleasure in the little things, that there is no such thing as drudgery, because everything has its place. For instance, I clean the house on Friday mornings and don’t worry about my filthy kitchen floor for the rest of the week, and I have somehow come to love this ritual, that I’m not cleaning while I could be doing something better, but that I’m cleaning because it’s what we do then. And when we finish, there will be time for something else. So that I can enjoy the seven seconds in which the sun gleams from my just-mopped floor, and the stove-top is scrubbed (and I just don’t look in the bathtub, which is never, ever scrubbed). To clean my house is satisfying, and to be finished even more so.

I have also become a passionate snow shoveller. Snow shovelling is only such a chore, because it creeps up on you just when you’re late for work, but this is never the case with us. The storm that struck our city last night was not as powerful as predicted, but still, a man skiied by my house this morning, and snow had covered everything. And because Harriet and I were expecting a friend this morning, we went outside to shovel her way up to our door. (We shovel also for the postal service. If you clear it, they will come.) Harriet has a small shovel, and is impressed enough by it and by the snow that she is satisfied to watch me work. And it was the perfect snow to shovel to– there was so much of it, but it was light enough that I could lift big shovel-fulls of it, feel impressive, and not injure my back.

I get so so few opportunities to actually physically labour (which is a good thing. I once did a Habitat for Humanity Build, almost killed myself, and spent most of the build under a tent eating twinkies, and no one minded, because I was very bad at building houses). Which makes it entirely satisfying to work for once, to use my body, my strength, to clear the sidewalks and our driveway, creating mountains at the edges that are taller than Harriet. (A mountain taller than Harriet. I know. Can you imagine such immensity?). To know that snow-clearing is by-lawed as my obligation as a citizen of this city, that we have to work together to keep our sidewalks clear, and how many people fulfil their duty actually as opposed to those who don’t. It makes me hopeful. And to be out there in the fresh-snowed quiet of a Wednesday morning, everybody either gone to work or snow-dayed in bed, the snow still falling and me quite content knowing that I’m doing a job that will never be done.

2 thoughts on “Slow snow falling deep”

  1. Joan Clare says:

    What a beautiful life you have. Enjoy

  2. Drea says:

    Love this! Thank you for reminding me to be grateful for the time I have available currently- I will endeavour to be thankful for such moments.

    I must say, I do sort of miss shovelling… there is a meditation involved in it- focus, repetition, accomplishment.

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