We’re digging out from under here, and in some places have chopped through enough ice to be able to make out the geological strata of precipitation—most of it sedimentary, including that crunchy bit from the Early Last Friday period and a layer from the Sunday Slickenfuck epoch. It’s the metamorphic stuff that’s getting in the way now, where the layers have folded and melted and refrozen. That is tricky to negotiate on foot. We had hoped to get some help from inclusions, such as all the frozen tits and asses that had fallen off. But once the rain hit the area and everything refroze, they just made little humps and moguls everywhere and every step had a tendency to put you right back into the previous step. It’s exercise, but you could make more headway on a treadmill.

At this point no one’s going anywhere. The roads are passable but if your car is as much as ten feet away it might as well be in the next county. A huge number of people have been tossed back into a previous century in which electricity had not been invented, but without any of the skills or equipment for survival. They aren’t any warmer than the people whose houses have been cloven in two by falling trees.

Pine siskin defending his perch

I understand that people who are neither working on a quilt nor a new novel have become stir-crazy. “Stir” is an antique slang reference to prison. “Loose in the calaboose” and “potty in the pokey” never caught on. Me, I was apparently born to be sent away. I was a year into COVID before it occurred to me that it would be nice to go somewhere or have people over. Our neighbor Anna, though, was feeling slammer-hammered last week and texted she was going to pop over here for a beer. Ten minutes later she texted again. She couldn’t make it. Our front doors are thirty feet apart. That is twenty-eight feet too far.

This morning the sun popped out just to check on us before taking its scheduled four-month nap, and now we have a new stratum. To answer the question “What is slipperier than lumpy ice with frozen tits and ass bits” we now have “lumpy ice with frozen tits and ass bits and a layer of liquid water on top.” The landscape is polished. It’s slick as the mirror on the Hubble. Your remedial course on Gravity is right out your front door.

Lots of people around here have thought themselves prepared because they bought a Snow Shovel. We used those where I grew up in Virginia. The snow shovel is wide and curved and relatively flimsy and is designed to pick up as much cute and fluffy snow as possible. I have lived here for almost fifty years and I have never seen anything come out of the sky that you could use a snow shovel on. We don’t do cute and fluffy. What you need is a good square shovel such as you would use to move gravel or concrete. You need to slice. You need to chip. You need to pounce like a fox with a blade on its face. Once you have achieved shards and chunks, you may use the shovel to clear. We have three of these shovels, because Dave was in the masonry field. I’m happy to lend one out. Come and get it! Ha ha!

Sometimes you can stomp in the crunchier bits and make progress, especially if you’ve got something nearby to grab onto—a tree, a wall. Here we’re fortunate enough to have a boot on our front walk, right at waist height, and by the time that mailman thaws out we won’t need him anymore.

Meanwhile, listen up, Portland peeps! I’m going out today! Does anyone need anything from my front porch?