Bundled in my heavy Land’s End coat, a scarf, two hats, gloves so thick that I couldn’t bend my fingers, double-layers of socks, clunky snow boots and a pocketful of damp, half-used tissues, I took Y-Bo for his morning constitutional.
All I could think about as we fought against the glacial wind, picking our way over piles of filthy snow and slippery ice was how tired I am of winter and all of it’s rotten accouterments. Especially those dangerously slick, bone-breaking, virtually undetectable patches of black ice that plague the sidewalks and roadways.
It was on one such mini-ice-rink back in 1960 that my mother slipped and broke her knee cap. Nowadays, they would have replaced that crushed bone with some sort of plastic disc, given Mom a prescription for painkillers, and a few sessions of physical therapy that would have left her physically fit and ready to run the Boston Marathon.
Sadly, back then they had no such technology and my mother had to undergo two surgeries. She spent several weeks in the hospital, was in a wheelchair for, what seemed, forever. The only therapy she had was from the policeman who lived next door. This Matt Dillon-like lawman was the only one who didn’t flinch every time my mother, who was in a great deal of pain, grunted obscene obscenities as he stretched the muscles and tendons that had atrophied during her long convalescence. Mom often said if it hadn’t been him, she’d have never been able to walk without pain and a severe limp.
Needless to say, I am overly cautious when it comes to ice on the pavement. Knock on wood, but while I’ve had a couple of scary falls over the decades, I’ve never suffered any serious damage. Still by this time of year, I’m completely fed up with being so careful. I’m done with the grimy snow, exhausted by the chill and gloom. I just want to walk, carefree and happy, in the sunshine. I want to let my mind drift, content that my feet won’t….
Usually when Y and I go out, I don’t let him zigzag all over so that he can sniff every stinky tree or yellow-stained rock of ice. But on this day I was in such a rotten state of mind, that when he wanted to pause a moment to investigate the neighborhood fireplug, I let him. To keep warm, I started kicking clumps of icy snow that were blocking the sidewalk. Before I knew it I had dislodged quite a chunk. It felt good to take a big bite out of winter. I kept stomping at it until I’d dug a swathe just wide enough for me and my dog to pass through. That felt even better; my mood improved markedly.
As we resumed our perambulation, I thought about how it was nearly St. Patrick’s Day. I noticed that some of the trees had those ‘false’ pre-bud buds on them. Both are always sure signs that Spring is on the way. Then quite unexpectedly, I saw a bright red Cardinal land in a bush. He raised his cheerful voice in an early morning song. It made me smile, lifted my spirits, and gave me hope.
By the time Y and I got home, wonderful ‘feel good’ endorphins were coursing merrily inside my brain and I was ready to have breakfast and get on with my day. Happy enough for a little music I switched on the radio just in time to catch the local weather forecast…“Ten to twelve inches of snowfall expected later tonight and into tomorrow. Heavy winds followed by temperatures falling into the low 20s.”
Ah March…in like a lion out like a lamb…I hope.
P.S. I had originally planned to post this blog last Tuesday morning. Alas, the above mentioned storm, which only dumped 9 inches of snow into my yard, did manage to knock out my internet, television, telephone connections several time in two days. Good news, though. The temps are actually supposed to heat up to nearly 40 degrees by this weekend and, even better, Y-Bo is in snow heaven!