Shovel Snow And Survive

...and that's only half of it;-)

…and that’s only half of it;-)

We have a freakishly long driveway or so it seems to me every time it snows. During the summer months I never think about the length of the driveway. In fact, when it is not snow covered, I appreciate its ability to accommodate several cars. Valet services everywhere might lust after our snow-free driveway. Our neighbors routinely mistake our driveway for the approach to a country club.

Last night Skip took the train up from Chicago. It was his first visit to our house. His first question to me upon seeing the house was, “Are you the snow blower?” He immediately recognized the freakish length of the driveway due to the massive piles of snow that currently define it. Skip also knows I have an excessive amount of hot air (so I am capable of literally blowing snow when on a good rant) that interrupts any sense that I might actually possess. Point-in-fact, we have a snow blower that sits comfortably in the garage. It requires a goodly amount of maintenance or perhaps a single bullet to the engine. I’ve considered mounting it on a pedestal for my yard maintenance sculpture series. Had I confessed possession of a snow blower Skip would certainly have asked, “Does it blow snow?” What an absurd question! Of course not!

There’s something in me that likes a challenge. Last night it snowed and I couldn’t wait to step into my big Wisconsin boots, grab my new green shovel (I broke the old orange shovel in the last heavy snow), and get to it! Kerri shook her head and reminded me that people “my age” routinely expire from excessive snow shoveling and, since we have a freakishly long driveway, there is excessive snow to shovel. She made it sound like my demise was not only possible but imminent. She said it was simple logic: if A) excessive snow shoveling causes early dirt napping and B) there is excessive snow to shovel, then, C) my shoveling excessive amounts of snow excessively would likely lead to early dirt napping.

I reminded her that we are both artists and logic rarely interferes with our decision-making. “Then take your time,” she admonished. “Go slow.” Ah! In the rebuke of logic, a little bit of Zen is always welcome. I shoveled snow slowly and survived. I paused often to breathe-in the cold and listen to the wind.

 

Face The Sun

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It was gorgeous in Seattle today. It was the kind of day that people escape from work, play hooky, take extra long lunch hours, or leave early so they can get into the sun. I made up a reason to walk across the city to an art store. I needed some more paper and Mod Podge. I’m certain there is a closer art store but I convinced myself that they wouldn’t have the kind of paper I needed or would charge me too much for Mod Podge. I justified walking in the sun for an hour. My strategy was successful. I pretended I was exhausted so I could walk slower. That worked, too.

On the way I saw people napping in the sun. All of the city’s benches were occupied by people dedicated to sitting still. All the faces were tilted to the sun. Like me, people walked slower so they might prolong their time outside. It was as if the entire city went Zen (with the exception of the drivers who were desperate to get somewhere so they could park and get out of their cars).

The great paradox in this day of lollygagging is that I was more productive today than any other day this month. A little sun greased the wheels of my brain and the ideas flowed. I was inking cartoons and talking on the phone and before I knew it I’d inked everything that was drawn and nearly completed my full list of calls. Skip sent an email proclaiming that he, too, was having an extraordinarily productive day. A little sun can work magic to a vitamin D starved populace.

Even though we live in boxes that shelter us from the elements and sleep according to electric light and not the rising and setting of the sun, we are still intimately connected to the pull of nature. This morning as I descended Queen Anne hill, the vibrant force of spring – birds in chorus, buds bursting open, a full palette of colorful flowers – stopped me in my tracks. It lifted me from a rain soaked stupor and I spontaneously stretched my arms and yawned myself awake. A woman passed me on the stairs and said, “It’s electric, isn’t it.”