By Chad Ingram
Published Feb. 28, 2019
A strong, frigid wind bites the skin on my face as it hurls cyclones of snow across a vast expanse of frozen, white wasteland, drift upon drift stretching on for as far as the eye can see.
It’s Monday morning and I’m about to snow-blow the driveway.
Monday mornings are rude enough to begin with, but a night of raging winds has turned the front yard into a nightmarish landscape that from the porch resembles the Arctic tundra. It is the one-millionth snow day of the 2018/19 school year for Haliburton County students.
“Snow days should come with perks for adults too, like gift certificates to Home Depot, or something,” I grumble to myself as I get out the snowblower.
Our driveway is an expanse of about 100 feet from the house to the road, so about the longest distance anyone would want to try to clear with a snowblower, or probably more than people in their right mind would attempt. Today the drifts are two feet high in some places, interlaced with layers of ice for that extra challenge. As I trudge my way slowly toward the road, shoving the machine in front of me, I’m pretty sure I know how members of the Franklin expedition must have felt before becoming ensconced in their icy graves.
I also badly wish I’d remembered to put snow pants over top of my thin, flannel ones, but this is what happens when I try to function before coffee.
As I break onto the road, I’m certain I’ll never see the house again. What will I tell anthropologists about Haliburton County in 2019 when they finally find my remains? I try hard not to think about the fact that two brief weeks ago, I was drinking Coronas beside a pool in southwest Florida. If I cry, the tears will freeze to my face. I try to summon some patriotism, telling myself this is part of what makes us Canadian, but just end up wishing I’d been born Jamaican.
On my third or fourth pass, I stop briefly to curse the pioneers of Haliburton County. If they hadn’t starting settling here nearly two centuries ago, I wouldn’t be here now, would I? So in a roundabout way, this is all their fault.
The terrible task behind me, I climb the stairs to the door, eyebrows and beard encased in icy snow, pyjamas soaked through with sweat under my coat.
At least a day at the office won't feel like much work.