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[By now I'm somewhere in the south of France, far removed from thoughts of snow. The only kind of precipitation here will be of the good old-fashioned vertically descending rain type. For the rest of you left on the East Coast, here's a treat from a Halifax-based blogger on the art and tribulations of shoveling.]
By Giles Crouch
In early November I head down to the basement for the annual check of the weapons cache, to see that all is in order for the coming battles – plow shovel, salt spreader, angled shovel, check and check! This year I vow, yet again, that I will tackle this war with great aplomb as an artiste tackles a masterpiece. Preparation, I argue without much conviction, is half the battle; or perhaps it’s denial. This is the preparation for the inevitable snow storms that will mercilessly pound our coast as we hang precariously out into the most storm-ridden, vitriolic ocean in the world – the Atlantic.
The first snow falls. A good 20 centimeters and the next morning I awake early, quickly tilting back a hot cup of tea before donning my battle gear; gloves, hat, big boots, thick winter coat. Before I went to sleep the night before, the battle plan was already engaged in my mind. The shovel selected, method of approach and tactics.
I think we all begin the snow-shoveling season this way out here. Determined that all walkways will be barren of snow and the driveway will be immaculate and guarded against ice with liberal doses of salt or sand. So it is, those first few storms. I shovel a little extra back from the walkway edge, giving room for more snow should it dare to storm again! The corners of the driveway at the roadside are pushed back for good exit and entrance room. I feel like a sculptor and gloat over my fine work. Two days later it is a rain-storm and the snow is all but gone. Then the next storm, but I am holding true to my convictions and plans. Even perhaps for the next.
Some say “snow” is a bad four-letter word after New Years. Some may be right. For it seems that by mid-January the convictions have been lost under a series of snow-drifts. News of another snow-storm is met with groans; of the heart and lower back. By now one is stockpiling Ibuprofen and a heating pad has been acquired. The sidewalk gets enough attention to avoid a law suit from the postal carrier and the driveway has a slim patch of reasonable walking width. The rains hold off just long enough now that one still must shovel. I dream that if the snow were regular enough I’d be as buff as Arnold, but as those of us who live in Nova Scotia know, the warming and cooling does better for head colds than abs of steel. So the inevitable battles goes, the best-laid plans are put to waste through storm attrition, the Atlantic grins wickedly in her victory yet again and Jack Frost giggles in the snowbank. Next year I’m buying a snow blower so it won’t snow.
Giles is an ex-pat Brit turned Canadian living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. A serial entrepreneur and passionate marketer, he is partner in Social Media agency MediaBadger.