On snowy days with gray skies, we don’t get much in the way of picture-perfect sunrises here in southwest New Hampshire. What we do get, though, are dimly gray postcard shots of white church steeples standing behind snow-dusted Christmas trees. (Click here to see this image larger.)
When I went to bed around 11:00 last night, my bedroom window blinds were glowing with the dim reflected light of newly fallen snow, and my bedroom blinds looked pretty much the same when I got up at 7:00 this morning. You don’t wake up at 7:00 on snowy December mornings to admire the sunrise; you wake up at 7:00 on snowy December mornings to walk the dog and dig out your car. In the process, you don’t lament the lack of a picture-perfect sunrise; instead, you content yourself with life’s little blessings, like the plow-guys who worked all night to make sure both streets and sidewalks were clean.
Neither snow nor rain stops the postal service, and neither snow nor rain stops intrepid dog-walkers, either.
Judging from this snow-buried ribbon on a downtown wish-tree, someone in Keene had their wish come true. “I wish for lots of snow,” it reads, and we got it: some 7-8 inches by my untrained estimate. The snow started yesterday around noon; by the time I returned from collecting one more batch of take-home exams on campus at 3pm, the snow was ankle deep.
After letting Reggie out for one last sniff-and-pee before hunkering down for the night, I closed my blinds to the outside snowing world, trusting the weather forecasters who said the storm would end around 10 so we could dig out at sunrise. When your grading is piled higher and deeper, it doesn’t really matter how deep it gets outside. On a Thirsty Thursday night when students were washing those exams right out of their brains with buckets of beer, I contented myself with my paper-pile and several mugs of hot chocolate. You can probably imagine what I was wishing for.
In Newton, they got 10 inches, and that’s exact: J measured after the snowfall had begun to taper off last night. “When you arrive here on Friday afternoon, park on the street” J suggested after I’d decided not to attempt the Keene-to-Newton commute in last night’s intense snowfall. Even with a snow-blower, digging out a long driveway will take the better part of a day, if not more.
One person’s wish is another one’s work…and I know that after returning from this morning’s dog-walk to shovel my own much shorter driveway. Wishes can be weighty if you let them accumulate. Between yesterday and last night, I graded a single class’s worth of essay portfolios, which means I have two more piles (and those take-home exams) to keep me warm this weekend. Whatever your approach to paper piles, you don’t want them to grow cold. Little by little–shovelful by shovelful–you dig yourself out, remembering to lift with your intellectual knees, not your back. Throwing out your back shoveling snow is ugly enough; throwing out your brain reading papers, their contents at times hefted with a different kind of shovel, is something else entirely.
This is my not-entirely-on-topic contribution to today’s Photo Friday theme, Sunrise. Here’s another angle on Keene’s downtown Christmas tree, which has been obstructing the view of Central Square’s bronze sentinel for several weeks. Christmas trees always look better with snow, but I’m not so sure about snow-helmeted sentinels.