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Spring, that is. She seduced us here in Central Ohio last week with her warming smile that lightened our hearts. Our memories of digging our cars and houses out from six foot drifts were forgotten as we all went for a walk in the park, where we saw ducks on their own dates nestled in secret love coves down on the Olentangy River. (I’m not making this up.)
The old ball and chain is back this week, Winter with her grey clouds and chilly soul. Winter brings us back inside to contemplate, write, and long for Spring to make a committment.
Here in Columbus, we’ve had snow on the ground for nearly two weeks straight. Inches of it, quickly turning into piles as our neighbors shovel their driveways and walks, and the snowplows blast their way through the streets. And then the piles are topped by more inches of snow. In fact, it’s snowing again as I type. Which is fine with me; it’s January in Ohio, so it should be snowing.
When I see all this snow, and the neighbors with their nicely shoveled (or snow-blower-cleared) driveways, my fingers start to itch. I want to sled, and make a snowman, and do all those fun kid-like snow activities. But what I want to do first, before anything else, is clear out my driveway. Not because I like it, but because it has to be done. And if I don’t do it, no one will, because I’ve never gotten my husband to appreciate the value of a shoveled driveway.
(Mind you, my husband does lots of things around the house. And in the fall, he’s the one who usually ends up raking most, if not all, the leaves from the big gum tree out back. He’s not a slacker or anything. It’s just for some reason, shoveling snow isn’t that critical to him, whereas I barely step in the door from work before I’m back out there with the shovel. I just can’t let it lay.)
There are all sorts of good, solid reasons to shovel a driveway, which I list here in no particular order:
1) If the snow is unshoveled, you could get stuck trying to get your car into or out of your driveway. (Especially if the snow plows have pushed a wall of snow from the street across the end of your driveway, which they tend to do.) Getting stuck in your own driveway is always embarrassing.
I have found the bane of my existence, and its name is “Sweetgum.”
This refers to the towering tree in my backyard. It’s a nice, shady tree, that turns a brilliant shade of yellow in the fall. It’s a large tree, but it’s the only tree on our lot that loses its leaves, so raking the leaves isn’t too bad. It has decent enough branches that I’ve even climbed up in it once or twice (although not very high up.)
But then there are the seedpods. Or “gumballs” as they’re called. Yikes.