The Red Snow Shovel

So much depends upon it.

On Friday, I retired the red plastic snow shovel that has stood sentry outside our front door for the past four months. It was 60 degrees and sunny outside, and I figured it was time for that old shovel to travel to his summer home beside the water heater in the basement. I patted him gently and wished him a good rest, chirping that “spring was on the way!”

Which is why, as I write this on Sunday night, we are expecting up to seven inches of snow.

By the end of February, I am always tired. Tired of bundling the children into thick, unwieldy layers that make car seat and stroller straps too tight to negotiate easily. Tired of endless gray skies and gray asphalt and bare gray trees scratching at the sky. Tired of snow and salt and still-slippery sidewalks.

I grasp at every daffodil bud, every crocus shoot, and every sunny, blue-skied, swing-pushing day as a lifeline out of winter. Despite 28 years of experience telling me that March is often the coldest, snowiest month in the Northeast, I happily ignore that fact — packing away the winter decorations and cold-weather gear the instant the mercury rises.

Today I saw a forsythia bush in full bloom, its bright yellow buds a sure herald of spring. My heart leapt, and my smile followed.

But in the morning I will retrieve the red shovel, pack myself into my long, navy coat, and set to work clearing snow from our sidewalks.

Article © 2009 by Stacey Duck