Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Winter. He arrived with a vengeance during the last few days. Snow has piled up against any resistant object. The driveway, not so long ago pristine and ploughed, has many inches of the powdery stuff on it. And Snow has once more obscured the deck.

This year I've decided I am going to be vigilant in shovelling Snow off the deck as soon as she arrives. It is my place where I meditate, where I think over a problem, where I take my joys...and should Snow take over, as happened last year...I would miss the spiritual aspect of my walks along it sorely.

I shovelled yesterday, during a Snow Storm. I've shovelled many times already this year; it looks as if I will shovel at least a few more times before year's end.

I like shovelling. This powdery, flighty, light Snow, at any rate. It feels much like sweeping, to me...another activity I really love. My shovel and my broom...both have prominent spots on the deck, ready to be put to use at any given moment.

Both cleanse. Both move energy about. And sometimes, if I am in a somewhat downward spiralling mood, shovelling or sweeping becomes a metaphor.

This morning, after watching a depressing newscast, after visiting a few not-so-joyous  news sites on the 'net, after hearing some negative news which made me worry...there was a bit of garbage I carried within me which required that shovel.

And what better way than to clear the deck...of Snow, of anger and frustration at my inability to use my fingers the way I once did, of general anxiety? Wrapping presents was the final straw,with those aforementioned trembling fingers. The shovel moves oh-so-smoothly through the powder light Snow! Nary an obstacle in the way.

Each shovel load is thrown over the deck railing, each representing a thing which has me bothered.  It is very light, this Snow, yet bits of it persists in clinging to the shovel...and to me. But I will not let it. I stamp my feet, brush my coat and bang the shovel against the wooden deck.

The bright Winter Sun, peeking through Fog which surrounds the white-clad Forest, winks at me. I hear the message. I begin to notice the sparkling, absolutely pristine Winter's day with which I have been blessed.

Over and over, the shovel bites into the pile of Snow blanketing the deck. Over and over again, a shower of sparkling, crystalline Snow descends down the bank, giving more cover to the young perennials huddled in it. Each shovel load leaves me feeling lighter, refreshed, farther away from news I can do nothing about. My grim mood has left me, along with piles of Snow.

Even as I find I am beginning to adore the day, even as I find the hidden reserve of joy once more...I am very thankful, at the end of it, that I only have to shovel the deck. Our tractor takes care of the rest of it.

Yes. Winter has arrived; there is no doubt. Winter...a season of clarity, joy and depression, sadness and a sense of the if-onlys...and finally, understanding. Eventually, if I shovel long and hard enough, there is also acceptance and balance, once again.

As long as I use that shovel.

Happy holidays, everyone...and don't forget the shovel!


  1. We used to live in a snow belt off the Great Lakes and there was one man in our neighborhood that spent many hours a day shoveling his sidewalk. He would complete the length and then start all over. I was surprised to learn that he was 78 years old. But then it shouldn't really be a surprise.

  2. Have a wonderful time Marion. Dave

  3. I love your broom. We haven't had any snow since we've returned to Powell River. They had some while we were in the States earlier this month, but it melted in a few days. We have to keep our cabin deck cleared because of the weight. It isn't unusual for a few inches of the white stuff to make the float sink a few inches further in the water. We wouldn't sink, but we don't want our logs to get saturated with little sun to dry them out. - Margy

  4. Merry Christmas to you!! :)

  5. Wow! The Wintersmith has really made sure he visited your part of the world! For those of us who don't get snow, and shovelling of snow aside, it looks magical!

  6. Happy Holidays! Only you could make shoveling sounds good! I do understand the therapy-angle in this repetitive process. Also, I think your experience reinforces the notion that exercise can improve our moods. May the New Year bring many blessings and good health.

  7. What a beautiful post Marion. Few people are blessed enough to see the metaphors in everyday things ... Your awareness is contagious - I felt like I was shovelling your "snow" too. In a good way.

    Hope you had a merry holiday :o) Love Nicole

  8. Your affection for shoveling is to be commended I on the other hand would prefer that this task go to someone else. I love to walk and play and sing in the snow. As far as shoveling ..... though you make is sound enticing. Happy Winter MS North Wind

  9. hi marion

    merry christmas! wow! so white and beautiful!!! feels like hugging them all. i just got back from sunny beach, having a bad sun burn!! what contrast to what you are having now where you are.

    i like cleaning when i am in a down mood too. gotta let the energy flow somewhere... might as well clean :)

    have a happy new year marion. may 2010 brings lotsa beautiful things to you.

  10. Enjoying shoveling and sweeping? I do recall being told when I was younger that sweeping builds character but what I thought at the moment the person was telling me that was that it was a line to get me to enjoy sweeping.

    There are often things that can be done like shoveling or sweeping that build up my "focus" muscle and that helps me to be focused when I am doing other things. Simple repetitive things often do that for me too...

    I enjoyed reading the way that you viewed doing things like that as well.

    Kindest regards,
    Tom Bailey

  11. Anonymous12:15 p.m.

    Hello Marion,

    Your metaphor of shoveling and sweeping is the perennial medicine for joy and laughter in life. Sweeping the heart out and staying open to love!

    Wishing you and yours a very happy new year and may it be filled with inspiration for creativity that brings joy and laughter!


  12. Unfortunately I didn't need a shovel in London!

    Happy New Year.

    Kitty x