Total Meltdown


Well, maybe that’s wishful thinking, but it’s 35 degrees already, with a projected high of 42. There are portions of my sidewalks that have not seen the light of day since that terrible ice storm at the beginning of December–though I’ve been faithfully chipping away at the inch-thick crust since then.

Basically, all I’ve been able to do is keep ever-so-slightly ahead of the recurrent snow and ice layers that have come later. Today may be the day. It is especially important to get ahead now, as the overnight forecast calls for–you guessed it–more freezing rain, accompanied by another 4 inches of so of the white stuff tomorrow.

(Kids–you may get another three-day weekend!  Adults–do you remember the pajama’d excitement of listening to the radio on those mornings ripe with wintry promise?  My brother and I used to get up early on those days and listen to the ever-growing roll-call of school cancellations–each time eagerly listening for the word “Middlebury” that was our ticket to freedom.  When we heard it, we hollered a whoop of pure joy!)

As much as I’ve been tempted to use salt this year, I haven’t, though some (well-meaning?) neighbor did dump a bunch of anti-freeze on my sidewalk a couple weeks ago. I’m not sure if they were in fact well-meaning, or if they were just trying to poison my dog. Like I said in my Prairie Roots interview, people will do the darndest things, often with the mistaken belief that they’re helping you.

In my defense, I have been trying to keep at least a little alley-way clear by hand because I walk too, and because I don’t want salt run-off hurting my lawn or trees (especially my young Northern Spy and Cox’s Orange Pippen heirloom apple trees). I’d wager after this long winter you’ll see plenty of lawn damage in this area from high salt use.

In some ways, I can hardly blame the salt-users.  After being stranded in Minneapolis during that ice storm, I got back to a layer of ice so thick on my back steps, I had to chip some away just to get the door open.  In the following days, my attempts to clear the sidewalks resulted in a neck injury so bad it took two chiropractic visits, two professional massages, a half-tub of Tiger Balm, and several hot baths to get my vertebrae to stay in line.

Though today’s effort to clear the remaining ice and snow from my sidewalks and car pad might seem a wasted effort given the incoming storm, a quick check of the next week’s forecast seems to indicate a slowly rising temperature trend.  In fall, the dreaded “wintry mix” signals a turn of the season when rain gives way to snow, but at this time of year, wintry mix is a sign that the spring is coming, and the snows will be giving way to rains that melt the winter away.

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