A Shovel

The snows arrived.
It took about 2 weeks longer than usual. But they’re here. To misquote James Joyce, “Snow is general all over Winnipeg.”
I just went out to the 7-11, three doors down from our house, to get a few staples and there was plenty of milk on the shelves. And, surpisingly, staples.
The house is ready. We had the furnace checked a few weeks ago. It hadn’t been looked after in about, maybe, 6 years, perhaps more. The service repairman could tell by the way the doors were sealed around the boiler. They used to use some kind of concrete sealant around the doors to keep the heat in. Today, he explained, they use a kind of silicon sealant. It’s red and kind of pretty, like blood, and it was nicely applied all around the small doors of the furnace. Apparently, it’s the original one that was installed when the house was built in 1922. Back then, the owners would rake coal into the thing. Probably in the 1950s, it was converted to oil heat and then, perhaps in the 1970s or 1980s, it was converted again. This time it was gas. Natural gas.
The eavestroughs probably should have been cleaned. I mean the gutters. They should have been cleaned.
The house didn’t have all of its storm windows installed outside so a few of the windows in the house are directly exposed to the outside air, wind, cold, water. Not a tragedy but it’s something that we’ll have to attend to in the Spring.
But it’s Winter here. It looks like we’re going to get about 10 centimeters of snow. And, according to a long-time resident with whom I walked home today, once it snows at this time of year, it’s on the ground. It’s not likely to melt. The snow sitting on the ground right now, as I write, will be on the ground until March, perhaps later. It’s the same snow I’ll be walking upon for weeks, months. The same snow compacted by sister layers and feet and the occasional warm rays of the sun. The same snow, concretized and homogenized, compressed and repressed. Tonight’s layer will is the foundation for future slicks, for future falls and collisions, for the light reflected back up to the big sky here.
Tonight’s snow is one from Calgary, they tell me. Not a Northeaster, which is what I’m used to, as a Northeaster. But a Northwester, I guess, has come.
The quality of the snow seems like a lot of snows I’ve seen before. It’s powdery with a bit of wetness around the edges. It piles. And it doesn’t smell the way it does back home, in New York.
Over the weekend, we went to a Johnny Cash tribute party that was something like I imagined it and nothing like I could have imagined. I had waited pretty much two years for this event, held at our friends’ house. There were at least a hundred people there, sitting on the floor, on chairs, on stairs. J.C. himself made an apperance in the guise of one of our friends and he played beautifully. Petty Cash, Johnny’s little badass sister, also performed a song called “A Girl Named Poo.” And, just to keep the scatology going, a duo called the Ass Juice Trio crooned to lots of avail. It was great.
The snows and the cold are known to have this effect on people here. Being indoors means things get done and those things are often creative by nature. I love this.
I love this house, too. I wish I had a shovel, though.