Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Digging Christmas Eve

On this Christmas Eve, I spent two hours digging out our cars.

We live on the side of a wickedly steep hill. In the snow, the incline is impossible for cars, but great for sleds, plastic disks and cookie sheets. Did I mention kids?

In our standard clever strategic move in these situations, before last week’s storm we shifted the cars from the garage to the bottom of the hill.

For the past week my trusty old RAV4 has been tethered under a big fir whose bent branches are laden with ice.

Potential disaster. A block from the RAV's moorage an entire tree toppled onto a house.

So I hacked out a place with no threatening limbs and backed the RAV into it as far as the snow bank would allow.

Next I cut a path to the snow bank that had surrounded and buried the Accord, our vehicle of choice because of its studded snow tires.

Until my excavation, it was little more than a snow drift with rear-view mirrors.

I did most of my digging and hacking in the thaw. Shoveling snow was like hewing and hoisting concrete blocks. I worked chunk by sodden chunk with a small, short-shanked, big-handled, squared-off sod-cutter.

As I labored and sweated (I quickly went from four layers to two) the warming nibbled at the white of this oddly isolating and weirdest of Christmas Eves.

As I write in the darkening day, a dread freezing rain pocks the snow, but at least our cars have been liberated from their snowy tombs.

But now we have no place we want to go.

Here’s to staying home and warm, surrounded with joy and good cheer.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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