Archive for the 'snow' Category

Blizzards on top of blizzards

February 13, 2015

My back roof has been cleaned off of its ice and snow.  I’m not sure how Joe (my contractor) did it, but it involved a tall ladder, an ax, and a snow rake.  The ice dams and the interior leaks they produced are gone (for now).  The flat roof of the front porch Joe shoveled the other day.  So the house is sort of ready for this next onslaught of snow this weekend.

What I am wondering about at this point is the effect of the wind on the piles of snow.  If the high winds that they are predicting sweep the powdery snow in the huge mounds of shoveled snow back onto the walkways, steps, and driveways, that’s going to feel like a Sisyphean task to remove it.

My mother brought up Sisyphus when I was called upon to empty her apartment immediately after (barely) unpacking her into it (there were cartons to be put into storage still in the middle of her living room), while she was in the nursing center.

Call me Sisyphus, not Ishmael, I guess.  Maybe that’s the current theme of my life.  It’s certainly a vehicle for learning to stay in the moment and to perform the task with less regard for achieving a personally satisfying objective.


Performing tasks

January 16, 2013

I think I learned this from Gita, she to whom I go to hear what I don’t wish to hear.  It’s the idea that whatever it is we’re doing, we are doing it for God (or, if you prefer, we can do with the attitude that we are doing it for God).  I associate that idea with tasks that are tedious, difficult, too many in number for the amount of time, etc., but I mostly associate it with tasks deemed lowly in some way.

But today I was caught up in activities that involved technology, finances, and other things that suggest status and significance.  What I actually spent hours doing on the phone and online with these people in the financial sector was really unproductive and unsatisfying, and why it has any better reputation than cleaning bathrooms or shoveling snow, I don’t know — I certainly didn’t find it more satisfying than tasks lower on the totem pole according to our system of values, and it struck me that the people on the other end of my communications, while very nice and trying to be helpful, were being paid more than I think maids and plowers are paid.

It struck me that what we assign value to is pretty arbitrary, and that some of the current claims to an activity’s value are a little like the emperor’s new clothes.

But if the orientation is that whatever task is being done is being done for God, it doesn’t really matter.  That concept is a great leveler.

The “magic” behind the bobcat

January 22, 2012

This is a follow-up to my last post, the one about how a bobcat came and cleared the snow from the end of my driveway unbidden, and it felt to me like being visited by Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy.

Last night I heard a town plow go by, and I got curious whether it had pushed more street snow into the mouth of my driveway (when they used to send out two staggered plows simultaneously, this didn’t happen, but now they plow the middle of the street first and make another pass later to clear the street to the curb).  I couldn’t see, so when I saw the light of what I guessed would be a plow service for the neighbor across the street, I took a peek, hoping it would illuminate the bottom of my driveway.

It actually seemed to be cleaning up around my driveway, and it parked in front of my house, but I realized (from watching where the driver went when he got out of the truck) it was probably the (new) plow service of my adjacent neighbors, not of my neighbors across the street.

Which leads me to my point: I suspect this new plow service was hired by the adult children of my adjacent neighbors (who also bought for them and had rehabbed their house about four years ago).  I wonder if for them it was like receiving a gift.  If I picked up some of that “energy,” as I seem to do in other contexts, then maybe that’s kind of like the scaffolding beneath my experience of the bobcat.

This explanation is not to deny the altruism of the bobcat operator, just to point out evidence for my sense of energy and energy-sharing.

Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Bobcat

January 21, 2012

I wrote once here about children’s belief in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, and how when they come not to believe in them literally anymore, it doesn’t seem to me necessary that they stop believing in the concept.  Something like that (I haven’t reread the post).

So, today we are shoveling the snow.  I’m shoveling the driveway, we’ve done the sidewalk, Jordan is doing the side path (helpful if we want to receive home heating oil deliveries), and I’m thinking about the mouth of the driveway and all that heavy stuff from the plow.

I thought back, with gratitude, about how a couple of Mormon elders (young men in suits and ties) had helped Jordan shovel that stuff last winter, I think it was, after a very heavy snowstorm.  I didn’t expect the elders to show up again today (for one thing, it wasn’t a snowfall of comparable magnitude).  I had met them weeks or months earlier, and we had happily discussed religious beliefs for a few sessions, but when we got to the “why don’t we show you our temple” part of the program later, I told them that I didn’t want to lead them on, that I wasn’t looking for a new affiliation with another religion.  They asked me to pray on it, on what my relationship with Jesus is, and what I got back from my prayers was not what their belief system holds.  But we parted on good terms.  I can see the allure of the support of such a community, but unfortunately I don’t have the right ticket.

So, I’m thinking about this, when all of a sudden I notice one of those Bobcat-like miniature bulldozers that are used for, among other things, clearing snow, in the street, passing by my house.  I look, and the bobcat turns towards me.  It moves slightly up the driveway and drags back the snow.  It performs the same maneuver of the next section on snow, and, I think, then a third time.  The fellow has cleared most of the heavy snow from the mouth of the driveway, I am looking on in some amount of disbelief.  He finishes, and prepares to push the snow now in the street away and to the curb down stream from the driveway opening.  I wave and smile my thanks (it seems such an insufficient vehicle for my gratitude), he signals back, and off he goes.

And that’s when the thought of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy came up in my mind, because that kind and anonymous help reminded me of what those two figures, at least in part, represent to me.

I then thought that I can feel quite well taken care of by the universe, but I’m not sure how that help comes.  Sometimes I wonder if someone is praying for me or something.  Whatever, I am grateful, encouraged, and also tickled by the experience.