News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

February 21, 2010

The Off Season: The mostly cloudy with a chance of snow times have changed

I spent a while tonight shoveling snow, a ritual to which I have grown quite accustomed this winter. I made the arrogant mistake of pointing out to my wife one day last week, after a particularly satisfying session of excavating, that I enjoyed seeing all of our walks, and the backyard deck, and our driveway, clear of the snow cone-like mess that was left by a quick but sloppy storm.

It was a comfort to me to look out of my windows to see neatly shoveled paths to our bird feeder, to the barn and to my truck, which has to endure the harsh winter weather since only our car can fit into a garage made snug by the Fred Sanford-like clutter of recycling cans and filing cabinets and overflowing shelves.

But I have paid the price of such chutzpah; another cold front has curled its frigid fingers around the Midwest, and just last night we picked up nearly half-a-foot of powdery snow that this evening covers every track and trail and clear road that my plastic shovel and I had created on willpower and ibuprofen and a well-guarded back. Now, a new load of snow blankets the tops of fence posts, hangs precariously from the eaves of our barn and sits on the rocking chairs and old wooden storage trunk that reside on our porch, mocking the roof that they supposedly use for protection.

We have grown quite tired of the monotonously similar weather forecasts we hear: “Mostly cloudy,” the weathermen tell us day after day, “with a chance of snow.” In the not-so-long-ago old days, the two of us, both teachers in small, rural schools, delighted in those words, for we might enjoy a day off from work, a day we not only didn’t have to pay back, but also one in which we could sleep in a little.

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