Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wednesday's Words for February 2, 2011

Ah, joy of joys, Ground Hog Day has arrived at last.

In the Ashbury household, this is a very special occasion indeed. This is the day when we dare to hope that maybe – just maybe – winter will soon give way to spring.

I understand that many people actually like winter. I also understand that still others depend upon it for some, if not all of their livelihood. There are those who sell snow related equipment, and those who have purchased plow blades for the front of their trucks. The farmers, too, need a lot of snow to put moisture deep into the ground for their planting season. I have no desire to circumvent anyone’s needs or their pleasures.

I just wonder if there isn’t some way to make these snow-and-ice enthusiasts happy without punishing the rest of us.

Of course, there isn’t, and thus we look forward to Ground Hog Day, as if the prognosticating rodents among us can truly offer us hope in our time of cold.

This has always been a particularly poignant day for Mr. Ashbury, who until this year spent almost all his time working out of doors. Now, as a senior employee, he’s moved from maintenance to driving an enormous “haul” truck at the quarry where he works. He’s no longer out in the elements so much, but there are still days he has to lend a hand, and in winter that can be a very cold hand.

I may have mentioned that in my opinion, winter in Southern Ontario, Canada isn’t a three month season; rather it extends from October to March, inclusive. Yes, six months of winter. The other six months here, by the way, are known as Construction season.

The positive side of looking at winter as if it lasts six months is the sure and certain knowledge that the dread season is, as of now, mostly over. Four months down, two to go.

At this moment, I am hunkered down in my house waiting for the snow storm to wane. It’s the first real one we’ve had this year, so I am not going to complain about it. In fact, I think I’m going to enjoy the temporary sense of being “snowed in”.

I had told my beloved last night that if we awoke to a blizzard, he was taking a snow day. No way was I going to drive in a blizzard, though I have done so in the past.

The older I get, the fewer things there are that seem worth my risking my safety for.

The school busses are all cancelled today, which means the schools are closed, so the little ones get a snow day. You should have heard the cheering. We had them here overnight as their mother worked a late shift at the hospital. But she arrived first thing to take them home, and so everyone is happy.

Certainly Mr. Ashbury is happy as he gets to play with the new snow blower we purchased in November. At least he will, he assures me, when he gets up again. He doesn’t often get a snow day either, and promptly went back to bed.

My beloved has only used the new snow blower twice, and neither time was there really much snow to test the machine—or him. Last night we received more than ten inches of the white stuff, with at least another ten to come today.

This is his first snow blower. It took many years for me to convince him that he needed one. Now he’s got his eye on an even bigger model, self-propelled, that will shoot that stream of snow clear into the next county.

I’m hoping the novelty of the toy won’t wear off any time soon.

In the mean time, our Ground Hog day celebrity here in Ontario, Wiarton Willy, is scheduled to emerge from his burrow sometime this morning. Now, the folklore is if the groundhog sees his shadow, he will be frightened and run back to his hole, heralding six more weeks of winter; and if he doesn’t, why then, it’s an early spring for us.

Considering the entire province is covered overcast skies dumping this storm upon us with no sunshine until tomorrow, this has to mean, hooray, an early spring for us.

I’ve checked, but no one seems to know whether the rodent will be afraid of a blizzard, or not.

Personally, I think the little critter has it all backwards.


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