I’m typing these words from my office at Framingham State, where I sit facing a large window fronting the main road that bisects campus. The snow is piled nearly everywhere after this weekend’s blizzard: the grounds crew has plowed the main pedestrian paths, but not the sidewalk shortcut that runs across the gentle slope outside my window. If you want to reach the single door that leads to a lonely hallway of faculty offices in the basement of O’Connor Hall, you’ll have to take the long way around because the shortcut around the building is snowed in.
This morning, I’ve already taken several pictures, and I’ll presumably take more this afternoon and tonight. The first photo I took today was one of a wreath one of our neighbors had left on top of the snow pile next to their trash bins: an odd adornment in an otherwise bleak snowscape. Here on campus, I also shot a looming overhang of snow sliding off the roof of Hemenway Hall and an upside-down, half-melted ice cream cone dumped in the middle of a snow drift. Surely there’s a story behind that.
Today I have lots of grading to do, paper-piles that accumulated over the past week and weekend. We’ve reached that point in the semester when I’m perpetually behind with grading: as soon as I finish one paper-pile, another one looms. It’s a nice idea to think I’ll catch up with grading, class prep, and other teaching tasks tomorrow or the next day or the next, but I’ve learned that catching up with a grading backlog really is like digging out from a blizzard: you quickly find ways to maneuver around the worst of the mess, but the bulk of the snow drifts will remain until spring. There’s simply no shortcut around that.