Proving I’m not that bright, I live in an area where, depending on the weather pattern, its cold and snowy from September to July. With August being a month full hundred plus degree days. With humidity. And cicada bugs.
At least that’s how I interpret it. I could be wrong about the actual cold months; and the correct temperatures; and the cicada bugs may just be ladybugs. But I’m sure of one thing, right now, it cold as hell out there. When I left for work this morning it was seventeen degrees. And that was going to be today’s high. Not taking into consideration the wind chill. I don’t know if you’ve ever experience wind chill. Wind chill is calculated by taking the temperature and telling you that’s the temperature you wished it could be. To experience it, take a cheese grater, rub it against your face, now salt your face.
But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is having to be out in it shoveling snow. Snow, for those who live in more humane climates, is tiny little beads of wind chill who, when they get together, form vast mounds which must be moved out of the paths of humans. Last year I was shoveling a path for the oil guy (don’t ask me why. I was told to do it and, in winter, your brain ceases to function and only does what it is told. That’s why Nazi Germany was easily formed in winter) and the wind was so strong it knocked me over twice. The snow was thirty inches high, I was in the middle of an eighteen inch path and when the wind blew I could do nothing but topple over. It would have been funny.
If it was happening to someone else.
But today was not that windy. Just cold. The kind of cold that makes people watching you from a window, wearing robes and slippers sipping a hot cocoa, shiver. Its always so much fun when they smile, wave and do one of those ‘brrrr’ shakes sympathetically siding with you while wrapping their warm arms around their comfy bodies. I hate those people even more than those who see you out there, covered in snow and regret, pull up in their heated car, roll the window down the width of a dollar bill and say,
“Nasty out, huh?”
But I guess I need those people in my life. Because, while I’m out there, its only my hatred that’s keeping me warm.
So I’m out shoveling and its very quiet. If it wasn’t for the fact that my extremities have ceased to function it would actually be pleasant. There’s a crackling sound under your feet as you walk over a foot or so of snow. The mounds throw off an eerie blue/white glow. Then the plow comes down the street sounding like the hounds of hell turning all the mounds into gray/black piles of grit.
Nothing like reality to slap one back into focus.
I’m hoisting snow up and tossing it aside when I notice some rabbit tracks in the backyard. That’s one cool thing about new snow. You really get to see how much traffic trespasses over the night. I’m following this fresh set of tracks when I see that they stop. Then there’s a big indentation in the snow. Weird. I step up on a mound and look. I see that the tracks didn’t stop. They doubled back to where he came from.
But not before leaving a bunch of little rabbits shits in the indentation. Now I know rabbits shit, a lot. But I didn’t know they’d be huddled down in their space before saying to the assembled family and friends,
“Excuse me, everyone, I must evacuate my bowels.”
I don’t know why that bothered me so. Maybe because I’ve been petting dogs who, while looking me right in the eyes, squatted down to dump. I guess I expected less from an animal who didn’t have the creature comforts of an indoor life. Maybe its because, now that I know they’ll shit in the middle of a yard, I have no idea how much shit I’ve stepped in over the years. But maybe its because, as I continue to shovel, I’m worrying about where all the squirrel shit is.