About this blog title

I cannot tell you how many times I have shown up at events with a couple of cameras around my neck, a gadget bag full of odds & ends and a lighting kit and have been asked that question. If it happened once every few years, that would be one thing. But it happens a LOT. It's like getting pulled over by the police and he's standing there with uniform, gun, flashing lights and asking him "Are you a cop?" I would love to come back with a witty reply, such as "No, I am Jesus. Don't you recognize my beard?" However, I cannot be that rude.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 309: Winter Wonderland Returns

Snow this afternoon at my home in Chaumont, NY
So, we had a warm spell that quickly melted away all of our snow a few days after Christmas. Well, I awoke this morning to six inches of fresh snow. Enough to make me shovel the driveway for the first time this Winter season in Chaumont, NY

The gate at my backyard entrance.

Let me tell you about shovelling snow. It's good exercise. Now, it is not such a nice thing if one wakes up in the morning to two feet or more of snow and must shovel it  before going to work in the morning. However, often times we know the snow is coming and can plan on getting up  early to shovel it. But most people still do not like it.  It is laborious. So, some folks buy a snow blower. That makes it go quicker. If you have vast areas of snow to remove that is a good, perhaps only option. However, one can always park the car closer to the road end of the driveway so as not need to shovel, or blow as much snow to get to work on time. But that means one must hike from the front door to where the car is parked. That might mean trudging through snow up to your knees. Then, try as you might to brush it off your legs, some remains and then the car heater melts it and you arrive at work with wet pant legs. Well, you could always park near the road, at the farthest point from your house, closeste to the road, and THEN: Start the snowblower up in the morning and use it to blow a narrow path to your car. This would be much quicker than than clearing the snow from the entire driveway.
I prefer to just shovel the stuff. Mainly for the exercise. But shovelling can be dangerous. Many people have had heart attacks from shovelling snow. Immediately I can think of three people I know who have had such a problem. When I was a teen my grandfather died of a heart attack while shovelling snow. I forget his exact age, but he was well over 80 years. My ex- brother-n-law, who is my age, had a heart attack while shovelling snow about three years ago. He survived, but it was real touchy. Finally, a co-worker who is about six year older than I experienced the same thing. He too survived.

The problem is they over exert themselves. They are in a hurry. They are bending over and scooping shovel fulls of snow, which, depending on conditions, can be very heavy, or light and fluffy. Often times these people have not done anything more strenuous around the house than mow the lawn with a riding mower. Then the snow comes and they are impatient, and BAM! The big one hits.

When I shovel snow I try to keep the bending & lifting to a minimum. I use my snow shove more like a plow. I lay it on the driveway surface and push the snow to the edges, and then scoop ot farther away. I also (and this is most important) Work slowly and steadily. I do not want to get winded, that is, to start breathing heavy and hard. If I notice that happenng I simply stop working. I pause to look at the beauty of the snow, to experience the cold frseh air, to really, rejoice in the experience. If I am going to be late, well, so be it, or, I shovel just enough to be able to get out of the driveway and get to work.

You can burn up a lot of calories shovelling snow, so for me, that's a a good and welcome way to get some exercise. I feel the same way about mowing the lawn in the Summer. I use a push mower (or, some call them a walk behind). Free exercise. And here is the thing with both endeavors: You get instant gratification. With every motion there is less snow, or shorter grass. Your exercise has a distinct and clearly visual reward.  When you are done you can look at it and admire what you have done. Feel a sense of pride. You have accomplished something. Then, go on into the house and reward yourself with a nice cold, refreshing beer!

My God, that's what living is all about. Getting your ass outdoors in God's wonderland called Earth, experiencing the Elements, working at something that needs to be done, seeing what you have accomplished, feeling satisfied by it, and then drinking a beer! What better way can there possibly be to live life as a man? At least that is how I see it living here in the North Country.

Today  I offer this quote: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” – Benjamin Franklin

photos by Gary Walts

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Please leav comments and suggestions about this blog and how I maght improve it. Thanks, Gary Walts