The other day I was at a meeting, sitting at a table of eight. Everyone but me said that they didn't like snow. They granted me that a little snow at Christmas is nice, but not necessary. One woman said that she liked snow up until the Blizzard of '77. I'm sure that the October 2006 storm that cost us many fine trees, and the recent December storm that left so many motorists stranded and neighborhoods buried under snow, didn't generate any new fans either. Yet I'm taking a stand right here and now that I love snow.
To show you the depth of that affection -- or malady, depending on your point of view -- I even love snowblowing. I'm not sure that snowblowing is a real English word, because it's not in our home dictionary or in any online dictionary I can find. Perhaps I should say, "I love to go out and blow snow," but that sounds pretty weird. Probably, to be technically correct, I should say, "I love getting my snowblower out and clearing the snow." But what I really mean is that I love snowblowing!
Probably what I love most about it is that it gets me outdoors into the fresh air. The cold and blowing snow make me feel alert, alive and in the present moment. My mind can't wander. I need to keep close track of where I've been and where I'm going, and keep a lookout for cars and obstacles -- a fallen branch, a dog bone, a rock.
Seeing where I'm going gets especially challenging when the wind is working against me and blowing the snow right back in my face. There's a technical term for it -- a "snowblow." Not really, but there should be, because it is a real phenomenon that anyone who has ever used a snowblower knows all too well. Snowblow sure does, as the old saying goes, put roses in your cheeks.
When I finally come indoors and look in the mirror, I have to admit that it looks more like sunburn. That probably requires another addition to the snowblowing vocabulary: "snowburn." But unlike sunburn, snowburn quickly fades once I am back inside our warm home.
When I see the snow shooting up and out of the chute of my snowblower, I sometimes feel like Captain Ahab when he called out, "Thar she blows!" When there are four or five snowblowers all going at the same time along my street, it's like a pod of whales has come into view.
The big question, of course, each morning when I look out on new fallen snow is, will the snowblower start? Will this be the morning when it finally gives up the ghost? I give it about six pumps to prime it, a little pat to tell it what a faithful (I hope) snowblower it is, jerk back the cord and it starts.
But isn't the snowblower noisy, a skeptic might say? I actually find it peaceful. I can get lost in my own little snow globe of a world, and absolutely no one can talk to me. All I might be called on to do is to smile, wave and point.
I use my late father-in-law's old snowblower, which is a real workhorse. We are now living in my wife's childhood home and, even though her dad passed away 15 years ago, I feel a kinship with him every time I use it. I can almost hear him saying, "Good job, Bob!"
Someday I know I'll be too old to do my own snowblowing, and that will be a sad day. But until then, to put a new spin on an old song: "Oh, the weather outside's delightful; To be in Phoenix would be frightful; But we live in Buffalo; Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"
Bob Poczik, who lives in Clarence, loves snow and using his snowblower on a cold winter day