Slip Slidin’ Away

Dearest Rachel –

So it finally came today – the first measurable snow of the season. Just three days too late for all those dreams of a white Christmas, when it would actually be considered welcome. I was picking up dinner for Daniel and myself, stepped outside onto a snowy sidewalk, and skidded for a good foot and a half before getting my bearings, righting myself, and making my way to the car otherwise unscathed. A near miss like that gives you quite the adrenaline rush, let me tell you, but – like with any adventure – it’s no fun until it’s over and you’ve survived the scare without even dropping your food bags.

It’s not like I even need the snow on the ground in order to nearly fall, either. Just this morning, I was finishing up breakfast when I heard the unmistakable mechanical roar of the garbage truck (I don’t know how I could tell it was that, and not some other major vehicle; the cadence of its stopping and starting might be a clue, but I’m not going to guarantee it), and I realized I hadn’t put anything out last night. I charged out the front door and grabbed the smaller wheelie bin, yelling as the truck began to pass our driveway, “Hey! HEY! WAIT!!” I actually stumbled forward, and would have pitched onto the concrete and gotten badly injured if it hadn’t been for the fact that I was pushing the bin in front of me and it kept me (mostly) upright. Then again, had it not been for the fact that I was trying to get the bin out there, I wouldn’t have been in such a situation in the first place, so there’s that.

Thankfully, the fellows in the truck took pity on me and stopped, basically right in front of the apron of our driveway – thank heavens that Mrs. M next door wasn’t trying to drive off at that moment. I stuck the bin into the monster’s jaws, and its arm went up, emptying the contents of our trash receptacle into the carrier mounted in front of the cab. I hollered my thanks to them as they drove off to take care of Mrs. M’s trash, and returned our empty bin to the front of the house – but dragged the recyclables to the curb before returning inside. I didn’t need to repeat the scene again in the afternoon, thanks all the same.

And that was before the heavens opened up and dumped their load upon us.

There are, no doubt, moments when a snow-covered landscape is a welcome sight. Certainly, any school kid would tell you about how beautiful the phrase ‘snow day’ can be, although it may well be that those days are over, thanks to modern technology and the alleged miracle of the Zoom call. Bad enough that today’s kids don’t recognize the stylized logos representing a phone or a floppy disk; to not know the joys of a day when they’re told not to bother trying to make it to school because it’s too treacherous to travel is a sad loss for future generations, indeed.

Those first few moments after any overnight snowfall are quite picturesque, as well. The trouble is that it can’t stay that way. We can’t freeze life in place and keep it as it is – although I guess that’s the purpose cameras serve. You still don’t get the sense of crisp, cold, clean air that is all part of the whole picture, though. At any rate, by the time you realize how pretty the scene is, and go for your camera, someone’s driven through the tableau and messed it all up.

But that’s how things are. People have to be places and do things, and in order to do them, they have to ignore the beauty that surrounds them and plow forward to their destination – sometimes quite literally, especially after a snowfall like this. And it’s moments like this that everyone realizes that they’ve forgotten how to deal with this circumstance after so many months of nothing like this.

We work our jobs
Collect our pay
Believe we’re gliding down the highway
When in fact we’re slip slidin’ away

Paul Simon, “Slip Slidin’ Away”

And I’m not exempt from this, either. I found myself getting impatient with the traffic as I was driving across down with our food, hoping it would stay warm enough to be worth eating by the time I got home with it. The cars in front of me were poking along at five miles less than the posted limit – that almost never happens in real life. And yet, they were the prudent ones, and I, now that I was seated and clutching the road with four tires, had completely forgotten the fact that my own two legs barely could stay upright amidst the slop we were all now driving through. I got home safely enough, but that doesn’t really go to my credit as much as it proves it the route home is fairly slow speed and uneventful by and large.

We’ll figure it out again eventually, and we’ll all learn to cope with the lingering mess that all that pretty pretty snow leaves on the ground. In the meantime, it may cost us (not me personally, necessarily, but the driving public as a whole) a fair number of dings and dents, a few broken bones… and quite possibly, the odd life or two along the way. And by the time we’ve all gotten used to it… it’ll be over again.

God only knows
God makes his plan
The information’s unavailable
To the mortal man


Until next time, honey, wish me luck. I may just need it to keep my feet.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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