jan 28/SHOVEL

49 minutes
4+ inches off deck, driveway, sidewalk
5 degrees/feels like 15 below

Okay, 4 inches is nothing in Minneapolis. But it might be the most we’ve gotten this winter and, combined with really cold temperatures that felt really cold, there was no way I was running. So I shoveled instead. I guess I shoveled slowly because we don’t have much of a driveway or a deck or a sidewalk and it took me almost 50 minutes. The only part of me that was cold were my fingers. I wore 3 pairs of gloves and still, they were cold. Had to stop halfway through to go inside and thaw them out under the faucet. Warming up, they burned. Stung sharply. Spent about a minute just chanting, “ow ow ow ow ow.” The snow was powdery and dry. Not heavy at all. Sliding easily under my sad, small shovel. We own a snow blower but it’s awkward and easier to just shovel. Plus, I like doing this kind of manual labor. Just a little bit of thinking–planning the best way to clear the path–and a lot of physical work. It’s very satisfying to clear a path. Shoveled the back first, then the side before heading to the front. Noticed that our neighbor had done it again–cleared their path by pushing all the snow into a mound at the end of their part of the sidewalk and the beginning of mine instead of shoveling it off to the side. Who does this? In fairness to my neighbors who are very nice, I don’t think they actually did it. Whoever they hired is responsible. This thoughtlessness bothers me a lot. Too much. I am bothered by how bothered I get by it. My brain almost melts as I try to find a logical reason for why someone would pile up a bunch of their snow on someone else’s sidewalk. I am trying hard to focus on other things, like how the neighbors on the other side always shovel beyond their sidewalk, sometimes shoveling almost half of mine. I would like to write a poem or an essay or something about the sidewalk and my (potentially) overblown outrage. Maybe I’ll add in a few lines about how bothered I am by my inability to confront my neighbors. O to have the skill to handle these situations without losing my temper, the ability to form coherent, generous sentences, and the temperament to not notice or care when something annoying like this happens!