I shoveled snow yesterday. While still a complete novice with regard to such things in comparison with my Northwoodsian neighbors, I've become considerably more adept at dealing with snow since I've moved to the midwest.
Before I moved to the midwest, snow was something I drove to see, a special trip, once a decade, perhaps. We'd stop the car on the side of the road or whatever, just to get out and touch the stuff. After a few moments, our ungloved hands would grow cold and we'd hop back in, turn on the heat, and scoot back towards home.
Before I moved to the midwest, a friend and I saw Fargo together. She'd grown up in Minnesota and decided that I needed to see Fargo to understand what I was getting myself into. Despite having grown up in the shadow, so to speak, of serial murders and kidnappings, I was terrified by the idea of living among duck-decoy-painting, rifle-weilding nuts. I was also completely befuddled by the snow shoveling scene, you know, the one where they discuss the weather in excruciating detail?
Now, I have had that very conversation many times. And I'm no longer befuddled or concerned. I expect that most of my neighbors have a veritable arsenal of hunting weapons in their garages. I've been to a gun show, and contemplated blaze orange camoflauge infant suits with equanimity. A Prairie Home Companion has gotten a lot funnier since I moved out here. And I've developed my own, personal, quirky system of snow classification.
Yesterday's snow was perfect shoveling snow, very dry, light, a tad grainy but without a crust except where my car tires had compressed it. It was maybe two inches thick, perfect for easy shoveling, but thick enough that shoveling felt worthwhile because if I didn't shovel, the sidewalk would end up icy and treacherous at some point. I could easily push it to the side without having to lift much, and the ground underneath was largely dry.
I'm still surprised by the dryness of snow. Yes, in spring things get very wet, but most of the time, snow sublimates rather than melts, and that fascinates me. It's like dry ice, only not.
Coming up, some snow stories.