I love shoveling snow. When I mentioned this to friends lately she furrowed her brow and looked doubtful for a moment.
“You’re serious, aren’t you?” she asked.
It wasn’t really a question, and yes, I am absolutely serious.
I will go out of my way to find extra snow to shovel just so that I can stay outside longer. I shovel the porch and the sidewalk, across the front edge of the garages and along the end of the driveway (where the Township gives us a little extra to work with by helpfully creating a little snow bank the entire width of the drive). Every time it snows, I head outside.
Given the volume of snowfall we’ve had so far this season, there are certainly no end of shoveling opportunities.
“If I shovel when it’s fresh, it’s lighter,” I tell my husband. “Once it piles up, or gets packed down, it’s a much tougher job.”
“Uh-huh,” he says. “That would explain the flock of snow angels in the side yard.”
I love fresh snow. I love its sound-muffling quality, the peace in which it enfolds me. I love the solitude and the fresh air. And for someone whose natural state runs to cold, who shivers at the merest hint of a draft, the self-generated warmth of shoveling allows me to be comfortable in the midst of the chill. Most of all, the time away from my desk and chores allows me to shake off the attention-jangling draw of email, the pull of the laundry basket; it allows me to restore my perspective.
There’s the physical aspect, of course: shoveling snow is a full body workout, engaging the thighs, core, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps. Squat-lift-twist-and-throw. Repeat. I just have to be careful to keep the load light and be mindful of my posture and technique lest I end up in traction. Rather like cross-fit, no?
Some mornings are absolute magic. If I head outside before the sun is up, I might catch a spectacular sunrise, the early winter light casting a pinkish glow over the snow-covered landscape. Or mid-morning, if the sky is clear and if there is a dusting of tiny flurries, the air will twinkle and shimmer all around me, as the light is refracted through thousands of tiny prisms. These moments are fleeting and otherworldly. If I stop long enough to soak it in, my faith in the magic of the universe restored. Does it get any better than that?